Tandem mass spectrometry for characterization of covalent adducts of DNA with anticancer therapeutics



The chemotherapeutic activities of many anticancer and antibacterial drugs arise from their interactions with nucleic acid substrates. Some of these ligands interact with DNA in a way that causes conformational changes or damage to the nucleic acid targets, ultimately altering recognition by key DNA-specific enzymes, interfering with DNA transcription or prohibiting replication, and terminating cell growth and proliferation. The design and synthesis of ligands that bind to nucleic acids remains a dynamic field in medicinal chemistry and pharmaceutical research. The quest for more selective and efficacious DNA-interactive anticancer chemotherapeutics has likewise catalyzed the need for sensitive analytical methods that can provide structural information about the nature of the resulting DNA adducts and provide insight into the mechanistic pathways of the DNA/drug interactions and the impact on the cellular processes in biological systems. This review focuses on the array of tandem mass spectrometric strategies developed and applied for characterization of covalent adducts formed between DNA and anticancer ligands. © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc., Mass Spec Rev 32:247–266, 2013