Development of novel SUV39H2 inhibitors that exhibit growth suppressive effects in mouse xenograft models and regulate the phosphorylation of H2AX.

PMID 30159125


Protein methyltransferase SUV39H2 was reported to methylate histone H2AX at lysine 134 and enhance the formation of phosphorylated H2AX (γ-H2AX), which causes chemoresistance of cancer cells. We found that a series of imidazo[1,2-a]pyridine compounds that we synthesized could inhibit SUV39H2 methyltransferase activity. One of the potent compounds, OTS193320, was further analyzed in in vitro studies. The compound decreased global histone H3 lysine 9 tri-methylation levels in breast cancer cells and triggered apoptotic cell death. Combination of OTS193320 with doxorubicin (DOX) resulted in reduction of γ-H2AX levels as well as cancer cell viability compared to a single agent OTS193320 or DOX. Further optimization of inhibitors and their in vivo analysis identified a compound, OTS186935, which revealed significant inhibition of tumor growth in mouse xenograft models using MDA-MB-231 breast cancer cells and A549 lung cancer cells without any detectable toxicity. Our results suggest that the SUV39H2 inhibitors sensitize cancer cells to DOX by reduction of γ-H2AX levels in cancer cells, and collectively demonstrate that SUV39H2 inhibition warrants further investigation as a novel anti-cancer therapy.