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Oncotarget

Identification of approved and investigational drugs that inhibit hypoxia-inducible factor-1 signaling.


PMID 26882567

Abstract

One of the requirements for tumor development is blood supply, most often driven by hypoxia-induced angiogenesis. Hypoxia induces the stabilization of hypoxia-inducible factor-1 alpha (HIF-1α), which induces expression of an angiogenic factor, vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF). The purpose of this study is to validate a new screening platform combined with orthogonal assays to rapidly identify HIF-1 inhibitors and to evaluate the effectiveness of approved drugs on modulating HIF-1 signaling. We generated an endogenous HIF-1α-NanoLuc luciferase reporter allele in the human HCT116 colon cancer cell line using genome editing and screened a panel of small interfering RNAs (siRNAs) to 960 druggable targets and approximately 2,500 drugs on a quantitative high-throughput screening (qHTS) platform. Selected compounds were further investigated with secondary assays to confirm their anti-HIF activity and to study their mode of action. The qHTS assay identified over 300 drugs that inhibited HIF-1α-NanoLuc expression. The siRNA screening results supported the effectiveness of several target-specific inhibitors. Moreover, the identified HIF-1 inhibitors, such as mycophenolate mofetil, niclosamide, and trametinib, were able to suppress cancer cell proliferation and angiogenesis. Our study indicates that blocking the mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) and phosphoinositol 3-kinase (PI3K) pathways effectively inhibits hypoxia-induced HIF-1α accumulation and HIF-1α transactivation and that proteasome inhibitors induce accumulation and decrease transcriptional activity of HIF-1α. These findings underline the importance of developing a battery of robust assay platforms and confirmation studies that focus on endogenous protein targets so that only relevant and reliable data will be taken into pre-clinical and clinical studies.

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