Biochemical pharmacology

Chk1 inhibitor synergizes quinacrine mediated apoptosis in breast cancer cells by compromising the base excision repair cascade.

PMID 26850987


Quinacrine (QC) causes apoptosis in breast cancer cells by induction of DNA damage, arrest of cells in S-phase, and by topoisomerase inhibition. Here, we show that QC-mediated apoptosis is not only due to increased DNA damage but also by compromising cell cycle checkpoints and base excision repair (BER) capacity in breast cancer cells. QC decreased CHK1, CDKs (CDC2, MDM2, CDC6), cyclins (B1, E1) and CDC25-A in a dose dependent manner. The expression of basal ATR remains unaltered but pATR (Ser-428) increased after QC treatment. A CHK1 inhibitor, SB218078, was also tested alone and in combination with QC. Like QC, SB218078 caused apoptosis by DNA damage and S-phase arrest. The combination of QC and SB218078 increased apoptosis by blocking the cell cycle in G2/M, which caused a mitotic catastrophe, and induced DNA damage at a higher level in comparison to individual compound treatments. Both drugs individually or in combination decreased the levels of replication protein A (RPA). Measurement of the expression of BER (SP- and LP-BER) proteins and direct in vivo BER activity revealed that the QC/SB218078 combination caused apoptosis in cancer cells by disrupting the induction of BER, which represents a novel means of potentially treating breast cancer.