Salvicine, a diterpenoid quinone compound, possesses potent in vitro and in vivo antitumor activity. Salvicine is a novel non-intercalative topoisomerase II poison. In this study salvicine induced evident DNA damage, which was further characterized as double-strand breaks mainly in MCF-7 human breast cancer cells. The degree of damage was highly correlated with growth inhibition of MCF-7. Using a PCR-stop assay we demonstrated that this damage was selective. Preferential damage occurred in the p2 promoter region, but not the 3'-end of the protooncogene c-myc. The expression of oncogenes, such as c-myc and c-jun, was additionally investigated. Salvicine induced a dose-dependent decrease in c-myc gene transcription, concomitant with an increase in c-jun expression. Furthermore, reverse-transcription PCR and Western blotting data revealed that salvicine failed to stimulate the mRNA and protein levels of p53 and its downstream targets p21 and bax. The phosphorylation degree of serine 15 of p53, which is thought to be an active form of p53 in response to cellular DNA damage, remained in a steady state. In view of these results, we propose that the downregulation of c-myc resulting from selective damage plays a role in apoptosis signaling. Moreover, salvicine-induced apoptosis in MCF-7 subsequent to DNA damage seems to be mediated through a p53-independent pathway.
Bisdioxopiperazines, including ICRF-154 and razoxane (ICRF-159, Raz), are a family of anticancer agents developed in the UK, specifically targeting neoplastic metastases. Two other bisdioxopiperazine derivatives, probimane (Pro) and MST-16, were synthesized at the Shanghai Institute of Materia Medica, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Shanghai, China. In order to determine the similarities and differences between these agents in medical chemistry, we evaluated the anti-tumor and anti-metastatic effects of Pro and MST-16 in vitro and in vivo against a number of human tumor cell lines and one of murine origin (Lewis lung carcinoma, LLC), and one human tumor xenograft (LAX-83) in nude mice. Our results show that Pro was cytotoxic to human tumor cell lines in vitro (IC50 < 50 microM for 48 h), approximately 3 to 20-fold more than MST-16. Pro and MST-16 manifested more prolonged cytotoxicity than some other first-line anticancer drugs including 5-fluorouacil, vincristine and doxorubicin, and maintain their cytotoxic effects for 4 days in vitro. In animal experiments, Pro and Raz were active against primary tumor growth (35-50 %) and significantly inhibited pulmonary metastasis of LLC (inhibition > 90 %) at dosage below LD(5). Both Raz and Pro were effective in administration schedules of 1, 5 and 9 days. Both Raz (25-32 %) and Pro (55-60 %) caused statistically significant inhibition of the growth of LAX 83 (a human lung adeno-carcinoma xenograft) in nude mice. In this model, Pro was more effective against LAX83 than Raz at equitoxic dosages. These findings suggest that Pro is active against more categories of tumors both in vivo and in vitro, which in some circumstances may make it superior to the currently-used anticancer bisdioxopiperazines, including razoxane and MST-16.
Phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase α is an attractive target to potentially treat a range of cancers. Herein, we described the evolution of a reported PI3K inhibitor into a moderate PI3Kα inhibitor with a low molecular weight. We used X-ray crystallography to describe the accurate binding mode of the compound YXY-4F. A comparison of the p110α–YXY-4F and apo p110α complexes showed that YXY-4F induced additional space by promoting a flexible conformational change in residues Ser773 and Ser774 in the PI3Kα ATP catalytic site. Specifically, residue 773(S) in PI3Kα is quite different from that of PI3Kβ (D), γ (A), and δ (D), which might guide further optimization of substituents around the NH group and phenyl group to improve the selectivity and potency of PI3Kα.
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