Combination treatment with highly bioavailable curcumin and NQO1 inhibitor exhibits potent antitumor effects on esophageal squamous cell carcinoma.
ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND:Esophageal squamous cell carcinoma (ESCC) is one of the most intractable cancers, so the development of novel therapeutics has been required to improve patient outcomes. Curcumin, a polyphenol from Curcuma longa, exhibits various health benefits including antitumor effects, but its clinical utility is limited because of low bioavailability. Theracurmin® (THC) is a highly bioavailable curcumin dispersed with colloidal submicron particles. METHODS:We examined antitumor effects of THC on ESCC cells by cell viability assay, colony and spheroid formation assay, and xenograft models. To reveal its mechanisms, we investigated the levels of reactive oxygen species (ROS) and performed microarray gene expression analysis. According to those analyses, we focused on NQO1, which involved in the removal of ROS, and examined the effects of NQO1-knockdown or overexpression on THC treatment. Moreover, the therapeutic effect of THC and NQO1 inhibitor on ESCC patient-derived xenografts (PDX) was investigated. RESULTS:THC caused cytotoxicity in ESCC cells, and suppressed the growth of xenografted tumors more efficiently than curcumin. THC increased ROS levels and activated the NRF2-NMRAL2P-NQO1 expressions. Inhibition of NQO1 in ESCC cells by shRNA or NQO1 inhibitor resulted in an increased sensitivity of cells to THC, whereas overexpression of NQO1 antagonized it. Notably, NQO1 inhibitor significantly enhanced the antitumor effects of THC in ESCC PDX tumors. CONCLUSIONS:These findings suggest the potential usefulness of THC and its combination with NQO1 inhibitor as a therapeutic option for ESCC.
Project description:Pancreatic cancer is the fourth leading cause of cancer-related deaths, in which the 5-year survival rate is less than 5%. Current standard of care therapies offer little selectivity and high toxicity. Novel, tumor-selective approaches are desperately needed. Although prior work suggested that ?-lapachone (?-lap) could be used for the treatment of pancreatic cancers, the lack of knowledge of the compound's mechanism of action prevented optimal use of this agent.We examined the role of NAD(P)H:quinone oxidoreductase-1 (NQO1) in ?-lap-mediated antitumor activity, using a series of MIA PaCa-2 pancreatic cancer clones varying in NQO1 levels by stable shRNA knockdown. The antitumor efficacy of ?-lap was determined using an optimal hydroxypropyl-?-cyclodextran (HP?-CD) vehicle formulation in metastatic pancreatic cancer models.?-Lap-mediated cell death required ?90 enzymatic units of NQO1. Essential downstream mediators of lethality were as follows: (i) reactive oxygen species (ROS); (ii) single-strand DNA breaks induced by ROS; (iii) poly(ADP-ribose)polymerase-1 (PARP1) hyperactivation; (iv) dramatic NAD(+)/ATP depletion; and (v) programmed necrosis. We showed that 1 regimen of ?-lap therapy (5 treatments every other day) efficaciously regressed and reduced human pancreatic tumor burden and dramatically extended the survival of athymic mice, using metastatic pancreatic cancer models.Because NQO1 enzyme activities are easily measured and commonly overexpressed (i.e., >70%) in pancreatic cancers 5- to 10-fold above normal tissue, strategies using ?-lap to efficaciously treat pancreatic cancers are indicated. On the basis of optimal drug formulation and efficacious antitumor efficacy, such a therapy should be extremely safe and not accompanied with normal tissue toxicity or hemolytic anemia.
Project description:Agents, such as ?-lapachone, that target the redox enzyme, NAD(P)H:quinone oxidoreductase 1 (NQO1), to induce programmed necrosis in solid tumors have shown great promise, but more potent tumor-selective compounds are needed. Here, we report that deoxynyboquinone kills a wide spectrum of cancer cells in an NQO1-dependent manner with greater potency than ?-lapachone. Deoxynyboquinone lethality relies on NQO1-dependent futile redox cycling that consumes oxygen and generates extensive reactive oxygen species (ROS). Elevated ROS levels cause extensive DNA lesions, PARP1 hyperactivation, and severe NAD+ /ATP depletion that stimulate Ca2+ -dependent programmed necrosis, unique to this new class of NQO1 "bioactivated" drugs. Short-term exposure of NQO1+ cells to deoxynyboquinone was sufficient to trigger cell death, although genetically matched NQO1- cells were unaffected. Moreover, siRNA-mediated NQO1 or PARP1 knockdown spared NQO1+ cells from short-term lethality. Pretreatment of cells with BAPTA-AM (a cytosolic Ca2+ chelator) or catalase (enzymatic H2O2 scavenger) was sufficient to rescue deoxynyboquinone-induced lethality, as noted with ?-lapachone. Investigations in vivo showed equivalent antitumor efficacy of deoxynyboquinone to ?-lapachone, but at a 6-fold greater potency. PARP1 hyperactivation and dramatic ATP loss were noted in the tumor, but not in the associated normal lung tissue. Our findings offer preclinical proof-of-concept for deoxynyboquinone as a potent chemotherapeutic agent for treatment of a wide spectrum of therapeutically challenging solid tumors, such as pancreatic and lung cancers.
Project description:Glioblastoma (GBM) is the most common and most aggressive brain tumor, associated with high levels of reactive oxidative species (ROS) due to metabolic and signaling aberrations. High ROS levels are detrimental to cells, but it remains incompletely understood how cancer cells cope with the adverse effects. Here we show that C/EBP?, a ROS responsive transcription factor, regulates the transcription of NQO1 and GSTP1, two antioxidative reductases, which neutralize ROS in the GBM and mediates their proliferation. C/EBP? is upregulated in EGFR overexpressed GBM cells, inversely correlated with the survival rates of brain tumor patients. Interestingly, C/EBP? binds the promoters of NQO1 and GSTP1 and escalates their expression. Overexpression of C/EBP? selectively decreases the ROS in EGFR-overexpressed U87MG cells and promotes cell proliferation via upregulating NQO1 and GSTP1; whereas knocking down C/EBP? elevates the ROS and reduces proliferation by repressing the reductases. Accordingly, C/EBP? mediates the brain tumor growth in vivo, coupling with NQO1 and GSTP1 expression and ROS levels. Hence, C/EBP? regulates the expression of antioxidative reductases and balances the ROS, promoting brain tumor proliferation.
Project description:<h4>Background</h4>Glioblastoma (GBM) is a universally lethal tumor with frequently overexpressed or mutated epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR). NADPH quinone oxidoreductase 1 (NQO1) and glutathione-S-transferase Pi 1 (GSTP1) are commonly upregulated in GBM. NQO1 and GSTP1 decrease the formation of reactive oxygen species (ROS), which mediates the oxidative stress and promotes GBM cell proliferation.<h4>Methods</h4>High-throughput screen was used for agents selectively active against GBM cells with EGFRvIII mutations. Co-crystal structures were revealed molecular details of target recognition. Pharmacological and gene knockdown/overexpression approaches were used to investigate the oxidative stress in vitro and in vivo.<h4>Results</h4>We identified a small molecular inhibitor, "MNPC," that binds to both NQO1 and GSTP1 with high affinity and selectivity. MNPC inhibits NQO1 and GSTP1 enzymes and induces apoptosis in GBM, specifically inhibiting the growth of cell lines and primary GBM bearing the EGFRvIII mutation. Co-crystal structures between MNPC and NQO1, and molecular docking of MNPC with GSTP1 reveal that it binds the active sites and acts as a potent dual inhibitor. Inactivation of both NQO1 and GSTP1 with siRNA or MNPC results in imbalanced redox homeostasis, leading to apoptosis and mitigated cancer proliferation in vitro and in vivo.<h4>Conclusions</h4>Thus, MNPC, a dual inhibitor for both NQO1 and GSTP1, provides a novel lead compound for treating GBM via the exploitation of specific vulnerabilities created by mutant EGFR.
Project description:Glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) is a highly aggressive brain tumor with a dismal prognosis, and the patients carrying EGFR-driven tumors with PTEN mutation do not respond to anti-EGFR therapy. The molecular mechanisms for this resistance remain unknown. Here, we show that PTEN induces the expression of NQO1, a flavoenzyme with dual roles in pro- and antitumorigenesis that decreases the formation of reactive oxygen species (ROS), which mediates the oxidative stress and GBM cell proliferation. NQO1 is reduced in EGFRvIII-overexpressed U87MG cells associated with low ROS, whereas NQO1 is highly escalated in PTEN stably expressed U87MG/EGFRvIII cells with high ROS. Interestingly, knockdown of NQO1 augments ROS and diminishes cell proliferation. Conversely, overexpression of NQO1 attenuates ROS and increases cell proliferation. By contrast, overexpression of PINK1, a PTEN-induced kinase 1, represses ROS and inhibits GBM cell proliferation. Therefore, our findings support that NQO1 displays a paradoxical role in mediating GBM growth in response to tumor suppressor PTEN.
Project description:<h4>Background</h4>No approved targeted agents are available for esophageal squamous cell carcinoma (ESCC). Informative genomic analysis and mouse patient-derived xenografts (PDX) also called mouse avatar can greatly expedite drug discovery.<h4>Methods</h4>Six ESCC cell lines and 7 out of 25 PDX models derived from 188 biopsies with clear molecular features were employed to evaluate the sensitivity of several EGFR blockers in vitro and in vivo, as well as the underlying antitumor mechanisms of the most promising EGFR-TKI afatinib. Mechanisms involved in acquired resistance of afatinib were explored based on established resistant cell lines and PDX models followed by an attempt to reverse resistance.<h4>Results</h4>Compared with other EGFR blockers, the second-generation EGFR-TKI afatinib exerted superior antitumor effects in ESCC, and EGFR copy number gain (CNG) or overexpression was proposed to be predictive biomarkers. Afatinib played its antitumor effects by inhibiting EGFR downstream pathways, as well as inducing apoptosis and cell cycle arrest at G1. It was increased phosphorylation of Src family kinases (SFKs), rather than MET upregulation, that conferred to acquired resistance of afatinib. Dual blockade of EGFR and SFKs could overcome afatinib resistance and warrants validation in clinical practice.<h4>Conclusion</h4>Both ESCC cell lines and PDXs with EGFR CNG or overexpression are potential candidates for afatinib, and concomitant EGFR/SFKs inhibition could reverse afatinib-acquired resistance caused by SFKs activation in ESCC.
Project description:The fundamental role that NAD(P)H/quinone oxidoreductase 1 (NQO1) plays, in normal cells, as a cytoprotective enzyme guarding against stress induced by reactive oxygen species (ROS) is well documented. However, what is not known is whether the observed overexpression of NQO1 in neoplastic cells contributes to their survival. The current study discovered that depleting NQO1 expression in A549 and H292 lung adenocarcinoma cells caused an increase in ROS formation, inhibited anchorage-independent growth, increased anoikis sensitization, and decreased three-dimensional tumor spheroid invasion. These in vivo data further implicate tumor-NQO1 expression in a protumor survival role, because its depletion suppressed cell proliferation and decreased lung tumor xenograft growth. Finally, these data reveal an exploitable link between tumor-NQO1 expression and the survival of lung tumors because NQO1 depletion significantly decreased the percentage of ALDH((high)) cancer cells within the tumor population.Loss of tumor-NQO1 expression inhibits tumor growth and suggests that novel therapeutics directed at tumor-NQO1 may have clinical benefit.
Project description:Lung cancer is the number one cause of cancer-related deaths in the world. Patients treated with current chemotherapies for non-small-cell lung cancers (NSCLCs) have a survival rate of approximately 15% after 5 years. Novel approaches are needed to treat this disease. We show elevated NAD(P)H:quinone oxidoreductase-1 (NQO1) levels in tumors from NSCLC patients. beta-Lapachone, an effective chemotherapeutic and radiosensitizing agent, selectively killed NSCLC cells that expressed high levels of NQO1. Isogenic H596 NSCLC cells that lacked or expressed NQO1 along with A549 NSCLC cells treated with or without dicoumarol, were used to elucidate the mechanism of action and optimal therapeutic window of beta-lapachone. NSCLC cells were killed in an NQO1-dependent manner by beta-lapachone (LD50, approximately 4 microM) with a minimum 2-h exposure. Kinetically, beta-lapachone-induced cell death was characterized by the following: (i) dramatic reactive oxygen species (ROS) formation, eliciting extensive DNA damage; (ii) hyperactivation of poly(ADP-ribose)polymerase-1 (PARP-1); (iii) depletion of NAD+/ATP levels; and (iv) proteolytic cleavage of p53/PARP-1, indicating mu-calpain activation and apoptosis. Beta-lapachone-induced PARP-1 hyperactivation, nucleotide depletion, and apoptosis were blocked by 3-aminobenzamide, a PARP-1 inhibitor, and 1,2-bis(2-aminophenoxy)ethane-N,N,N',N'-tetraacetic acid acetoxymethyl ester (BAPTA-AM), a Ca2+ chelator. NQO1- cells (H596, IMR-90) or dicoumarol-exposed NQO1+ A549 cells were resistant (LD50, >40 microM) to ROS formation and all cytotoxic effects of beta-lapachone. Our data indicate that the most efficacious strategy using beta-lapachone in chemotherapy was to deliver the drug in short pulses, greatly reducing cytotoxicity to NQO1- "normal" cells. beta-Lapachone killed cells in a tumorselective manner and is indicated for use against NQO1+ NSCLC cancers.
Project description:Napabucasin (NAPA) is thought to be a potent cancer stemness inhibitor in different types of cancer cell lines. While it has shown promising activity in early phase clinical trials, two recent phase III NAPA clinical trials failed to meet the primary endpoint of overall survival. The reason for the failure is not clear, but a possible way to revive the clinical trial is to stratify patients with biomarkers that could predict NAPA response. Here, we report the identification of NAD(P)H dehydrogenase 1 (NQO1) as a major determinant of NAPA efficacy. A proteomic profiling of cancer cell lines revealed that NQO1 abundance is negatively correlated with IC50; in vitro assays showed that NAPA is a substrate for NQO1, which mediates the generation of ROS that leads to cell death. Furthermore, activation of an NQO1 transcription factor NRF2 by chemicals, including an FDA approved drug, can increase the NAPA cytotoxicity. Our findings suggest a potential use of NQO1 expression as a companion diagnostic test to identify patients in future NAPA trials and a combination strategy to expand the application of NAPA-based regimens for cancer therapy.