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PloS one

Characterization of a novel anti-cancer compound for astrocytomas.


PMID 25255031

Abstract

The standard chemotherapy for brain tumors is temozolomide (TMZ), however, as many as 50% of brain tumors are reportedly TMZ resistant leaving patients without a chemotherapeutic option. We performed serial screening of TMZ resistant astrocytoma cell lines, and identified compounds that are cytotoxic to these cells. The most cytotoxic compound was an analog of thiobarbituric acid that we refer to as CC-I. There is a dose-dependent cytotoxic effect of CC-I in TMZ resistant astrocytoma cells. Cell death appears to occur via apoptosis. Following CC-I exposure, there was an increase in astrocytoma cells in the S and G2/M phases. In in vivo athymic (nu/nu) nude mice subcutaneous and intracranial tumor models, CC-I completely inhibited tumor growth without liver or kidney toxicity. Molecular modeling and enzyme activity assays indicate that CC-I selectively inhibits topoisomerase IIα similar to other drugs in its class, but its cytotoxic effects on astrocytoma cells are stronger than these compounds. The cytotoxic effect of CC-I is stronger in cells expressing unmethylated O6-methylguanine methyltransferase (MGMT) but is still toxic to cells with methylated MGMT. CC-I can also enhance the toxic effect of TMZ on astrocytoma when the two compounds are combined. In conclusion, we have identified a compound that is effective against astrocytomas including TMZ resistant astrocytomas in both cell culture and in vivo brain tumor models. The enhanced cytotoxicity of CC-I and the safety profile of this family of drugs could provide an interesting tool for broader evaluation against brain tumors.