Light‐Activatable Photocaged UNC2025 for Triggering TAM Kinase Inhibition in Bladder Cancer

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Chloé Breton-Patient, Sébastien Billotte, Patricia Duchambon, Gaëlle Fontaine, Sophie Bombard, Sandrine Piguel

Photopharmacology is an emerging field that utilizes photo‐responsive molecules to enable control over the activity of a drug using light. The aim is to limit the therapeutic action of a drug at the level of diseased tissues and organs. Considering the well‐known implications of protein kinases in cancer and the therapeutic issues associated with protein kinase inhibitors, the photopharmacology is seen as an innovative and alternative solution with great potential in oncology. In this context, we developed the first photocaged TAM kinase inhibitors based on UNC2025, a first‐in‐class small molecule kinase inhibitor. These prodrugs showed good stability in biologically relevant buffer and rapid photorelease of the photoremovable protecting group upon UV‐light irradiation (<10 min.). These light‐activatable prodrugs led to a 16‐fold decrease to a complete loss of kinase inhibition, depending on the protein and the position at which the coumarin‐type phototrigger was introduced. The most promising candidate was the N,O‐dicaged compound, showing the superiority of having two photolabile protecting groups on UNC2025 for being entirely inactive on TAM kinases. Under UV‐light irradiation, the N,O‐dicaged compound recovered its inhibitory potency in enzymatic assays and displayed excellent antiproliferative activity in RT112 cell lines.