Direct and Sequential Bioactivation of Pemigatinib to Reactive Iminium Ion Intermediates Culminates in Mechanism-Based Inactivation of Cytochrome P450 3AS

Lloyd Wei Tat Tang, Wan Wei, Ravi Kumar Verma, Siew Kwan Koh, Lei Zhou, Hao Fan, Eric Chun Yong Chan

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)


We recently established the mechanism-based inactivation (MBI) of cytochrome P450 3A (CYP3A) by the fibroblast growth factor receptor (FGFR) inhibitors erdafitinib and infigratinib. Serendipitously, our preliminary data have also revealed that pemigatinib (PEM), another clinically approved FGFR1-3 inhibitor, similarly elicited time-dependent inhibition of CYP3A. This was rather unexpected, as it was previously purported that PEM did not pose any metabolism-dependent liabilities due to the absence of glutathione-related conjugates in metabolic profiling experiments conducted in human liver microsomes. Here, we confirmed that PEM inhibited both CYP3A isoforms in a time-, concentration-, and cofactor-dependent manner consistent with MBI, with inactivator concentration at half-maximum rate constant, maximum inactivation rate constant, and partition ratio of 8.69 and 11.95 lM, 0.108 and 0.042 min21, and approximately 44 and approximately 47 for CYP3A4 and CYP3A5, respectively. Although the rate of inactivation was diminished by coincubation with an alternative substrate or direct inhibitor of CYP3A, the inclusion of nucleophilic trapping agents afforded no such protection. Furthermore, the lack of catalytic activity recovery following dialysis and oxidation with potassium ferricyanide coupled with the absence of a spectrally resolvable peak in the Soret region collectively implied that the underlying mechanism of inactivation was not elicited via the formation of pseudo-irreversible metabolite-intermediate complexes. Finally, utilizing cyanide trapping and high-resolution mass spectrometry, we illuminated the direct and sequential oxidative bioactivation of PEM and its major O-desmethylated metabolite at its distal morpholine moiety to reactive iminium ion hard electrophilic species that could covalently inactivate CYP3A via MBI. SIGNIFICANCE STATEMENT This study reports for the first time the covalent MBI of CYP3A by PEM and deciphered its bioactivation pathway involving the metabolic activation of PEM and its major O-desmethylated metabolite to reactive iminium ion intermediates. Following which, a unique covalent docking methodology was harnessed to unravel the structural and molecular determinants underpinning its inactivation. Findings from this study lay the foundation for future investigation of clinically relevant drug–drug interactions between PEM and concomitant substrates of CYP3A.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)529-540
Number of pages12
JournalDrug Metabolism and Disposition
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2022
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology
  • Pharmaceutical Science


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