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Hydrolysis in Acidic Environment and Degradation of Satraplatin: A Joint Experimental and Theoretical Investigation


A joint theoretical and experimental investigation of the influence that protonation can have on the reactivity of the anticancer prodrug satrapaltin and of analogous octahedral Pt(IV) complexes having two carboxylates as axial ligands has been carried out. Such a study sheds some light on the fate of the drugs, synthesized to be orally administered, after their consumption.For the synthesis and selection of active platinum-based anticancer drugs that perform better than cisplatin and its analogues, six-coordinate octahedral Pt(IV) complexes appear to be promising candidates as, being kinetically more inert and more resistant to ligand substitution than four-coordinate Pt(II) centers, they are able to minimize unwanted side reactions with biomolecules prior to DNA binding. Due to their kinetic inertness, Pt(IV) complexes have also been exploited to bypass inconvenient intravenous administration. The most prominent example is satraplatin (Sat.) which is the first platinum antineoplastic agent reported to have oral activity. The present paper deals with a theoretical DFT investigation of the influence that the acidity of the biological environment can have on the activity of satraplatin and analogous octahedral Pt(IV) complexes having two carboxylates as axial ligands. Moreover, here the outcomes of a joint electrospray ionization mass spectrometry and DFT investigation of the fragmentation pathways of the protonated satraplatin are reported. Calculations show that the simulated acidic environment has an important impact on the satraplatin reactivity causing a significant lowering of the barrier that is necessary to overcome for the hydrolysis of the first acetate ligand to occur. Data from electrospray ionization mass spectrometry, 1H NMR, and potentiometric experiments strongly suggest that the loss of CH3COOH from the protonated satraplatin ion [Sat. + H]+ takes place almost immediately upon dissolution of satraplatin in methanol–water, D2O, and water solutions, respectively, at room temperature.