Prodrugs pp 1269-1279 | Cite as

Case Study: Irinotecan (CPT-11), A Water-soluble Prodrug of SN-38

  • M. J. Hageman
  • W. Morozowich
Part of the Biotechnology: Pharmaceutical Aspects book series (PHARMASP, volume V)


Irinotecan (CPT-11) is a potent anticancer agent approved for use in the treatment of advanced colorectal cancer, as either a first-line therapy in combination with 5-fluorouracil or in the treatment of 5-flurouracil refractory cases (Sawada et al., 1995; Saltz, 1997). Irinotecan is a prodrug designed to deliver the poorly soluble parent molecule SN-38, an analog of a highly potent plant alkaloid camptothecin (CPT). Camptothecin and its analogs inhibit the nuclear enzyme topoisomerase I, inhibiting replication and demonstrating antitumor activity as an S-phase-specific drug (Garcia-Carbonero and Supko, 2002). The structure and enzymatic bioconversion of CPT-11 to SN-38 is shown in Scheme 1.


Lactone Form Carboxylate Form Camptothecin Derivative Limited Sampling Model Irinotecan Hydrochloride 
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Copyright information

© American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • M. J. Hageman
    • 1
  • W. Morozowich
    • 1
  1. 1.Pfizer Inc.Kalamazoo

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