Hydrolysis of irinotecan and its oxidative metabolites, 7-ethyl-10-[4-N-(5-aminopentanoic acid)-1-piperidino] carbonyloxycamptothecin and 7-ethyl-10-[4-(1-piperidino)-1-amino]-carbonyloxycamptothecin, by human carboxylesterases CES1A1, CES2, and a newly expressed carboxylesterase isoenzyme, CES3

Sonal P. Sanghani, Sara K. Quinney, Tyler B. Fredenburg, Wilhelmina I. Davis, Daryl J. Murry, William F. Bosron

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

98 Scopus citations


Carboxylesterases metabolize ester, thioester, carbamate, and amide compounds to more soluble acid, alcohol, and amine products. They belong to a multigene family with about 50% sequence identity between classes. CES1A1 and CES2 are the most studied human isoenzymes from class 1 and 2, respectively. In this study, we report the cloning and expression of a new human isoenzyme, CES3, that belongs to class 3. The purified recombinant CES3 protein has carboxylesterase activity. Carboxylesterases metabolize the carbamate prodrug 7-ethyl-10-[4-(1-piperidino)-1-piperidino] carbonyloxycamptothecin (CPT-11; irinotecan) to its active metabolite 7-ethyl-10-hydroxycamptothecin (SN-38), a potent topoisomerase I inhibitor. CYP3A4 oxidizes CPT-11 to two major oxidative metabolites, 7-ethyl-10-[4-N-(5-aminopentanoic acid)-1-piperidino] carbonyloxycamptothecin (APC) and 7-ethyl-10-[4-(1-piperidino)-1-amino]- carbonyloxycamptothecin (NPC). In this study, we investigate whether these oxidative metabolites, NPC and APC, can be metabolized to SN-38 by purified human carboxylesterases, CES1A1, CES2, and CES3. We find that CPT-11, APC, and NPC can all be metabolized by carboxylesterases to SN-38. CES2 has the highest catalytic activity of 0.012 min-1 μM-1 among the three carboxylesterases studied for hydrolysis of CPT-11. NPC was an equally good substrate of CES2 in comparison to CPT-11, with a catalytic efficiency of 0.005 min-1 μM-1. APC was a very poor substrate for all three isoenzymes, exhibiting a catalytic activity of 0.015 × 10-3 min-1 μM-1 for CES2. Catalytic efficiency of CES3 for CPT-11 hydrolysis was 20- to 2000-fold less than that of CES1A1 and CES2. The relative activity of the three isoenzymes was CES2 > CES1A1 ≫ CES3, for all three substrates.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)505-511
Number of pages7
JournalDrug Metabolism and Disposition
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 1 2004


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology
  • Pharmaceutical Science

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