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Carboplatin, [Pt(NH3)2(CBDCA-O,O')], 1, where CBDCA is cyclobutane-1,1-dicarboxylate, is used against ovarian, lung, and other types of cancer. We recently showed (Di Pasqua et al. (2006) Chem. Res. Toxicol. 19, 139-149) that carboplatin reacts with carbonate under conditions that simulate therapy to produce carbonato carboplatin, cis-[Pt(NH3)2(O-CBDCA)(CO3)]2-, 2. We use 13C and 1H NMR and UV-visible absorption spectroscopy to show that solutions containing carboplatin that have been aged in carbonate buffer under various conditions contain 1, 2, and other compounds. We then show that aging carboplatin in carbonate produces compounds that are more toxic to human neuroblastoma (SK-N-SH), proximal renal tubule (HK-2) and Namalwa-luc Burkitt's lymphoma (BL) cells than carboplatin alone. Moreover, increasing the aging time increases the cytotoxicity of the platinum solutions as measured by the increase in cell death. Although HK-2 cells experience a large loss in survival upon exposure to carbonato forms of the drug, they have the highest values of IC50 of the three cell lines studied, so that HK-2 cells remain the most resistant to the toxic effects of the carbonato forms in the culture medium. This is consistent with the well-known low renal toxicity observed for carboplatin in therapy. The uptake rates for normal Jurkat cells (NJ) and cisplatin-resistant Jurkat cells (RJ), measured by inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICP-MS), are 16.6 +/- 4.2 and 12.3 +/- 4.8 amol of Pt h-1 cell-1, respectively, when exposed to carboplatin alone. However, when these cells are exposed to carboplatin that has been aged in carbonate media, normal Jurkat cells strongly bind/take up Pt at a rate of 14.5 +/- 4.1 amol of Pt h-1 cell-1, while resistant cells strongly bind/take up 5.1 +/- 3.3 amol of Pt h-1 cell-1. Collectively, these studies show that carboplatin carbonato species may play a major role in the cytotoxicity and uptake of carboplatin by cells.

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Reprinted with permission from Di Pasqua, A. J., Goodisman, J., Kerwood, D. J., Toms, B. B., Dubowy, R. L., & Dabrowiak, J. C. (2007). Role of carbonate in the cytotoxicity of carboplatin. Chemical Research in Toxicology, 20(6), 896-904. Copyright 2007 American Chemical Society.

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