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Systematic (IUPAC) name
[3,2-b][3]benzazocine-20,1'(2'H)-isoquinolin]-5-yl acetate
CAS number 114899-77-3
ATC code L01CX01
PubChem 108150
Chemical data
Formula C39H43N3O11S 
Mol. mass 761.84 g/mol
Pharmacokinetic data
Bioavailability Not applicable (IV only)
Protein binding 94 to 98%
Metabolism Hepatic (mostly CYP3A4-mediated)
Half life 180 hours (mean)
Excretion Mostly fecal
Therapeutic considerations
Licence data


Pregnancy cat.


Legal status
Routes Intravenous

Trabectedin (also known as ecteinascidin 743 or by the brand name Yondelis) is a experimental anti-tumor drug. First isolated from aqueous ethanol extract of tunicates in 1969, the complex molecule was found to have impressive cytotoxic activities in the pico- to nanomolar range. It is composed of 3 tetrahydroquinoline moieties, 8 rings including one 10-membered heteocyclic ring containing a cystine residue, and 7 chiral centers. This structure was not determined until 1984, and was first totally synthesized by Elias James Corey in 1996.


Biosynthesis is also beleieved to involve the dimerization of two tyrosine residues to form the pentacyclic core of the molecule. The total synthesis by E.J. Corey used this proposed biosynthesis in their attempt at the compounds synthetic creation. Their synthesis utilized such reactions as the Mannich reaction, Pictet-Spengler reaction, the Curtius rearrangement, and chiral rhodium-based diphosphine catalized enantioselective hydrogenation. A separate synthetic process also involved the Ugi reaction to assist in the formation of the pentacyclic core. This reaction was unprecedented for using such a one pot multi-component reaction in the synthesis of such a complex molecule.

Mechanism of action

The biological mechanism of action is believed to involve the production of superoxide near the DNA strand, resulting in DNA backbone cleavage and cell apoptosis. The actual mechanism is not yet known, but is believed to proceed from reduction of molecular oxygen into superoxide via an unusual auto-redox reaction on a hydroxyquinone moiety of the compound following. There is also some speculation the compound becomes 'activated' into its reactive oxazolidine form.

This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Trabectedin". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.
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