Tumour biology : the journal of the International Society for Oncodevelopmental Biology and Medicine

PX-12 induces apoptosis in Calu-6 cells in an oxidative stress-dependent manner.

PMID 25391429


PX-12 (1-methylpropyl 2-imidazolyl disulfide) as a thioredoxin (Trx) inhibitor has an anti-tumor effect. However, there is no report about the toxicological effect of PX-12 on lung cancer cells. Here, we investigated the anti-growth effects of PX-12 on Calu-6 lung cancer cells in relation to reactive oxygen species (ROS) and glutathione (GSH) levels. PX-12 induced the growth inhibition of Calu-6 cells with IC50 of nearly 3 μM at 72 h. In contrast, PX-12 did not affect the growth of human small airway epithelial cells (HSAECs). Cell cycle distribution analysis indicated that PX-12 significantly induced a G2/M phase arrest in Calu-6 cells. PX-12 also increased the number of annexin V-FITC-positive cells in Calu-6 cells. All the tested caspase inhibitors markedly prevented Calu-6 cell death induced by PX-12. With regard to ROS and GSH levels, PX-12 increased ROS levels containing O2(·-) in Calu-6 cells and induced the depletion of GSH. N-acetyl cysteine (NAC), which is a well-known antioxidant, significantly reduced O2(·-) level in PX-12-treated Calu-6 cells and prevented apoptosis and GSH depletion in these cells. In conclusion, it is the first report that PX-12 inhibited the growth of Calu-6 cells via a G2/M phase arrest as well as apoptosis, which effect was related to the intracellular increases in ROS levels.