Influence of the binding of reduced NAMI-A to human serum albumin on the pharmacokinetics and biological activity
NAMI-A is a ruthenium-based drug endowed with the unique property of selectively targeting solid tumour metastases. Although two clinical studies had already been completed, limited information exists on the behavior of NAMI-A after injection into the bloodstream. PK data in humans informs us of a rather low free drug concentration, of a relatively high half-life time of elimination and of a linear relationship between the administered dose and the corresponding AUC for up to toxic doses. In the present study, we examined the chemical kinetics of albumin binding with or without the presence of reducing agents, and we evaluated how these chemical aspects might influence the in vivo PK and the in vitro ability of NAMI-A to inhibit cell migration, which is a bona fide, rapid and easy way to suggest anti-metastatic properties. The experimental data support the binding of NAMI-A to serum albumin. The reaction is facilitated when the drug is in its reduced form and, in agreement with already reported data, the adduct formed with albumin maintains the biological activity of the ruthenium drug. The formation of the adduct is favored by low ratios of NAMI-A : HSA and by the reduction of the drug with ascorbic acid. The difference in in vivo PK and the faster binding to albumin of the reduced NAMI-A seem to suggest that the drug is not rapidly reduced immediately upon injection, even at low doses. Most probably, cell and protein binding prevail over the reduction of the drug. This observation supports the thesis that the reduction of the drug before injection must be considered relevant for the pharmacological activity of NAMI-A against tumour metastases.