Longchuan Bai

University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan, United States

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Publications (43)321.26 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: Blocking the MDM2-p53 protein-protein interaction has long been considered by many to offer a broad cancer therapeutic strategy, despite the potential risks of selecting tumors harboring p53 mutations that escape MDM2 control. In this study, we report a novel small molecule inhibitor of the MDM2-p53 interaction, SAR405838 (MI-77301) that has been advanced into Phase I clinical trials. SAR405838 binds to MDM2 with Ki = 0.88 nM and has high specificity over other proteins. A co-crystal structure of the SAR405838:MDM2 complex shows that in addition to mimicking three key p53 amino acid residues, the inhibitor captures additional interactions not observed in the p53-MDM2 complex and induces refolding of the short, unstructured MDM2 N-terminal region to achieve its high affinity. SAR405838 effectively activates wild-type p53 in vitro and in xenograft tumor tissue of leukemia and solid tumors, leading to p53-dependent cell cycle arrest and/or apoptosis. At well-tolerated dose schedules, SAR405838 achieves either durable tumor regression or complete tumor growth inhibition in mouse xenograft models of SJSA-1 osteosarcoma, RS4;11 acute leukemia, LNCaP prostate cancer and HCT-116 colon cancer. Remarkably, a single oral dose of SAR405838 is sufficient to achieve complete tumor regression in the SJSA-1 osteosarcoma model. Mechanistically, robust transcriptional up-regulation of PUMA induced by SAR405838 results in strong apoptosis in tumor tissue, leading to complete tumor regression. Our findings provide a preclinical basis upon which to evaluate SAR405838 as a therapeutic agent in patients whose tumors retain wild-type p53.
    Cancer Research 08/2014; 74(20). DOI:10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-14-0799 · 9.28 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Bcl-2 and Bcl-xL are critical regulators of apoptosis that are overexpressed in a variety of human cancers and pharmacological inhibition of Bcl-2 and Bcl-xL represents a promising strategy for cancer treatment. Using a structure-based design approach, we have designed BM-1197 as a potent and efficacious dual inhibitor of Bcl-2 and Bcl-xL. BM-1197 binds to Bcl-2 and Bcl-xL proteins with Ki values less than 1 nM and shows >1,000-fold selectivity over Mcl-1. Mechanistic studies performed in the Mcl-1 knockout mouse embryonic fibroblast (MEF) cells revealed that BM-1197 potently disassociates the heterodimeric interactions between anti-apoptotic and pro-apoptotic Bcl-2 family proteins, concomitant with conformational changes in Bax protein, loss of mitochondrial membrane potential and subsequent cytochrome c release to the cytosol, leading to activation of the caspase cascade and apoptosis. BM-1197 exerts potent growth-inhibitory activity in 7 of 12 small cell lung cancer cell lines tested and induces mechanism-based apoptotic cell death. When intravenously administered at daily or weekly in H146 and H1963 small-cell lung cancer xenograft models, it achieves complete and long-term tumor regression. Consistent with its targeting of Bcl-xL, BM-1197 causes transit platelet reduction in mice. Collectively, our data indicate that BM-1197 is a promising dual Bcl-2/Bcl-xL inhibitor which warrants further investigation as a new anticancer drug.
    PLoS ONE 06/2014; 9(6):e99404. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0099404 · 3.53 Impact Factor
  • Longchuan Bai, David C Smith, Shaomeng Wang
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    ABSTRACT: Apoptosis is a tightly regulated cellular process and faulty regulation of apoptosis is a hallmark of human cancers. Targeting key apoptosis regulators with the goal to restore apoptosis in tumor cells has been pursued as a new cancer therapeutic strategy. XIAP, cIAP1, and cIAP2, members of inhibitor of apoptosis (IAP) proteins, are critical regulators of cell death and survival and are attractive targets for new cancer therapy. The SMAC/DIABLO protein is an endogenous antagonist of XIAP, cIAP1, and cIAP2. In the last decade, intense research efforts have resulted in the design and development of several small-molecule SMAC mimetics now in clinical trials for cancer treatment. In this review, we will discuss the roles of XIAP, cIAP1, and cIAP2 in regulation of cell death and survival, and the design and development of small-molecule SMAC mimetics as novel cancer treatments.
    Pharmacology [?] Therapeutics 05/2014; 144(1). DOI:10.1016/j.pharmthera.2014.05.007 · 7.75 Impact Factor
  • Longchuan Bai, Shaomeng Wang
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    ABSTRACT: The past decade has witnessed tremendous advances in the discovery and development of novel small-molecule inhibitors targeting apoptosis pathways for cancer treatment, with some compounds now in clinical development. Early promising clinical data have been reported with these new classes of anticancer drugs. This review highlights the recent advancements in the development of small-molecule inhibitors targeting three major classes of antiapoptotic proteins: antiapoptotic B cell lymphoma 2 (BCL-2) proteins, inhibitor of apoptosis proteins (IAPs), and murine double-minute 2 (MDM2). Special emphasis is given to those that have been advanced into clinical trials. The challenges and future directions in the further preclinical and clinical development of these new anticancer drugs are also discussed. Expected final online publication date for the Annual Review of Medicine Volume 65 is January 14, 2014. Please see http://www.annualreviews.org/catalog/pubdates.aspx for revised estimates.
    Annual review of medicine 11/2013; 65. DOI:10.1146/annurev-med-010713-141310 · 15.48 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Chronic inflammation in the stomach induces metaplasia, the pre-cancerous lesion that precedes inflammation-driven neoplastic transformation. While Hedgehog signaling contributes to the initiation of some cancers, its role in gastric transformation remains poorly defined. We found that Helicobacter-infected C57BL/6 mice develop extensive mucous cell metaplasia at 6 month but not at 2 months post-infection. Gastric metaplasia coincided with the appearance of CD45(+)MHCII(+)CD11b(+)CD11c(+) myeloid cells that were normally not present in the chronic gastritis at 2 months. The myeloid regulatory gene Schlafen-4 was identified in a microarray analysis comparing infected WT versus Gli1 null mice and was expressed in the CD11b(+)CD11c(+) myeloid population. Moreover this same population expressed IL-1β and TNFα pro-inflammatory cytokines. By 6 months, the mucous neck cell metaplasia (SPEM) expressed IL-6, phosphorylated STAT3 and the proliferative marker Ki67. Expression was not observed in Gli1 mutant mice consistent with the requirement of Gli1 to induce this pre-neoplastic phenotype. Ectopic Shh ligand expression alone was not sufficient to induce SPEM, but with Helicobacter infection synergistically increased the histologic severity observed with the inflammation. Therefore Hedgehog signaling is required, but is not sufficient to generate pre-neoplastic changes during chronic gastritis. Gli1-dependent myeloid cell differentiation plays a pivotal role in the appearance of myeloid cell subtypes ostensibly required for SPEM development. Moreover, it suggests that therapies capable of targeting this phenotypic switch might prevent progression to metaplasia, the pre-neoplastic change that develops prior to dysplasia and gastric cancer, which also occurs in other epithelial-derived neoplasias initiated by chronic inflammation.
    PLoS ONE 03/2013; 8(3):e58935. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0058935 · 3.53 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Our previously reported Bcl-2/Bcl-xL inhibitor, 4, effectively inhibited tumor growth but failed to achieve complete regression in vivo. We have now performed extensive modifications on its pyrrole core structure, which has culminated in the discovery of 32 (BM-1074). Compound 32 binds to Bcl-2 and Bcl-xL proteins with Ki values of < 1 nM and inhibits cancer cell growth with IC50 values of 1-2 nM in four small-cell lung cancer cell lines sensitive to potent and specific Bcl-2/Bcl-xL inhibitors. Compound 32 is capable of achieving rapid, complete and durable tumor regression in vivo at a well-tolerated dose-schedule. Compound 32 is the most potent and efficacious Bcl-2/Bcl-xL inhibitor reported to date.
    Journal of Medicinal Chemistry 02/2013; 56(7). DOI:10.1021/jm4001105 · 5.48 Impact Factor
  • European Journal of Cancer 11/2012; 48:125. DOI:10.1016/S0959-8049(12)72210-4 · 4.82 Impact Factor
  • European Journal of Cancer 11/2012; 48:31. DOI:10.1016/S0959-8049(12)71897-X · 4.82 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Bcl-2 and Bcl-xL antiapoptotic proteins are attractive cancer therapeutic targets. We have previously reported the design of 4,5-diphenyl-1H-pyrrole-3-carboxylic acids as a class of potent Bcl-2/Bcl-xL inhibitors. In the present study, we report our structure-based optimization for this class of compounds based upon the crystal structure of Bcl-xL complexed with a potent lead compound. Our efforts accumulated into the design of compound 30 (BM-957), which binds to Bcl-2 and Bcl-xL with K(i) < 1 nM and has low nanomolar IC(50) values in cell growth inhibition in cancer cell lines. Significantly, compound 30 achieves rapid, complete, and durable tumor regression in the H146 small-cell lung cancer xenograft model at a well-tolerated dose schedule.
    Journal of Medicinal Chemistry 10/2012; 55(19):8502-14. DOI:10.1021/jm3010306 · 5.48 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Apoptosis resistance is a hallmark of human cancer. Research in the last two decades has identified key regulators of apoptosis, including inhibitor of apoptosis proteins (IAPs). These critical apoptosis regulators have been targeted for the development of new cancer therapeutics. In this article, we will discuss three members of IAP proteins, namely XIAP, cIAP1 and cIAP2, as cancer therapeutic targets and the progress made in developing new cancer therapeutic agents to target these IAP proteins.
    Journal of Mammary Gland Biology and Neoplasia 09/2012; DOI:10.1007/s10911-012-9265-1 · 5.00 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Bcl-2 and Bcl-xL are key apoptosis regulators and attractive cancer therapeutic targets. We have designed and optimized a class of small-molecule inhibitors of Bcl-2 and Bcl-xL containing a 4,5-diphenyl-1H-pyrrole-3-carboxylic acid core structure. A 1.4 Å resolution crystal structure of a lead compound, 12, complexed with Bcl-xL has provided a basis for our optimization. The most potent compounds, 14 and 15, bind to Bcl-2 and Bcl-xL with subnanomolar K(i) values and are potent antagonists of Bcl-2 and Bcl-xL in functional assays. Compounds 14 and 15 inhibit cell growth with low nanomolar IC(50) values in multiple small-cell lung cancer cell lines and induce robust apoptosis in cancer cells at concentrations as low as 10 nM. Compound 14 also achieves strong antitumor activity in an animal model of human cancer.
    Journal of Medicinal Chemistry 07/2012; 55(13):6149-61. DOI:10.1021/jm300608w · 5.48 Impact Factor
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    Journal of Medicinal Chemistry 06/2012; 55(12):5987. DOI:10.1021/jm300728g · 5.48 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Employing a structure-based strategy, we have designed a new class of potent small-molecule inhibitors of the anti-apoptotic proteins Bcl-2 and Bcl-xL. An initial lead compound with a new scaffold was designed based upon the crystal structure of Bcl-xL and U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved drugs and was found to have an affinity of 100 μM for both Bcl-2 and Bcl-xL. Linking this weak lead to another weak-affinity fragment derived from Abbott's ABT-737 led to an improvement of the binding affinity by a factor of >10 000. Further optimization ultimately yielded compounds with subnanomolar binding affinities for both Bcl-2 and Bcl-xL and potent cellular activity. The best compound (21) binds to Bcl-xL and Bcl-2 with K(i) < 1 nM, inhibits cell growth in the H146 and H1417 small-cell lung cancer cell lines with IC(50) values of 60-90 nM, and induces robust cell death in the H146 cancer cell line at 30-100 nM.
    Journal of Medicinal Chemistry 03/2012; 55(10):4664-82. DOI:10.1021/jm300178u · 5.48 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Smac mimetics block inhibitor of apoptosis proteins to trigger TNFα-dependent apoptosis in cancer cells. However, only a small subset of cancer cells seem to be sensitive to Smac mimetics and even sensitive cells can develop resistance. Herein, we elucidated mechanisms underlying the intrinsic and acquired resistance of cancer cells to Smac mimetics. In vitro and in vivo investigations revealed that the expression of the cell surface protein LRIG1, a negative regulator of receptor tyrosine kinases (RTK), is downregulated in resistant derivatives of breast cancer cells sensitive to Smac mimetics. RNA interference-mediated downregulation of LRIG1 markedly attenuated the growth inhibitory activity of the Smac mimetic SM-164 in drug-sensitive breast and ovarian cancer cells. Furthermore, LRIG1 downregulation attenuated TNFα gene expression induced by Smac mimetics and increased the activity of multiple RTKs, including c-Met and Ron. The multitargeted tyrosine kinase inhibitors Crizotinib and GSK1363089 greatly enhanced the anticancer activity of SM-164 in all resistant cell derivatives, with the combination of SM-164 and GSK1363089 also completely inhibiting the outgrowth of resistant tumors in vivo. Together, our findings show that both upregulation of RTK signaling and attenuated TNFα expression caused by LRIG1 downregulation confers resistance to Smac mimetics, with implications for a rational combination strategy.
    Cancer Research 03/2012; 72(5):1229-38. DOI:10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-11-2428 · 9.28 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Chemoradiation is the treatment of choice for locally advanced head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC). However, radioresistance, which contributes to local recurrence, remains a significant therapeutic problem. In this study, we characterized SM-164, a small second mitochondria-derived activator of caspase -mimetic compound that promotes degradation of cellular inhibitor of apoptosis-1(cIAP-1; also known as baculoviral IAP repeat-containing protein 2, BIRC2) and releases active caspases from the X-linked inhibitor of apoptosis inhibitory binding as a radiosensitizing agent in HNSCC cells. We found that SM-164 at nanomolar concentrations induced radiosensitization in some HNSCC cell lines in a manner dependent on intrinsic sensitivity to caspase activation and apoptosis induction. Blockage of caspase activation via short interfering RNA knockdown or a pan-caspase inhibitor, z-VAD-fmk, largely abrogated SM-164 radiosensitization. On the other hand, the resistant lines with a high level of Bcl-2 that blocks caspase activation and apoptosis induction became sensitive to radiation on Bcl-2 knockdown. Mechanistic studies revealed that SM-164 radiosensitization in sensitive cells was associated with NF-κB activation and TNFα secretion, followed by activation of caspase-8 and -9, leading to enhanced apoptosis. Finally, SM-164 also radiosensitized human tumor xenograft while causing minimal toxicity. Thus, SM-164 is a potent radiosensitizer via a mechanism involving caspase activation and holds promise for future clinical development as a novel class of radiosensitizer for the treatment of a subset of head and neck cancer patients.
    Molecular Cancer Therapeutics 04/2011; 10(4):658-69. DOI:10.1158/1535-7163.MCT-10-0643 · 6.11 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We have synthesized and evaluated a series of nonpeptidic, bivalent Smac mimetics as antagonists of the inhibitor of apoptosis proteins and new anticancer agents. All these bivalent Smac mimetics bind to full-length XIAP with low nanomolar affinities and function as ultrapotent antagonists of XIAP. While these Smac mimetics bind to cIAP1/2 with similar low nanomolar affinities, their potencies to induce degradation of cIAP1/2 proteins in cells differ by more than 100-fold. The most potent bivalent Smac mimetics inhibit cell growth with IC(50) from 1 to 3 nM in the MDA-MB-231 breast cancer cell line and are 100 times more potent than the least potent compounds. Determination of intracellular concentrations for several representative compounds showed that the linkers in these bivalent Smac mimetics significantly affect their intracellular concentrations and hence the overall cellular activity. Compound 27 completely inhibits tumor growth in the MDA-MB-231 xenografts while causing no signs of toxicity in the animals.
    Journal of Medicinal Chemistry 04/2011; 54(9):3306-18. DOI:10.1021/jm101651b · 5.48 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Smac mimetics are being developed as a new class of anticancer therapies. Because the single-agent activity of Smac mimetics is very limited, rational combinations represent a viable strategy for their clinical development. The combination of Smac mimetics with TNF-related apoptosis inducing ligand (TRAIL) may be particularly attractive because of the low toxicity of TRAIL to normal cells and the synergistic antitumor activity observed for the combination. In this study, we have investigated the combination synergy between TRAIL and a potent Smac mimetic, SM-164, in vitro and in vivo and the underlying molecular mechanism of action for the synergy. Our study shows that SM-164 is highly synergistic with TRAIL in vitro in both TRAIL-sensitive and TRAIL-resistant cancer cell lines of breast, prostate, and colon cancer. Furthermore, the combination of SM-164 with TRAIL induces rapid tumor regression in vivo in a breast cancer xenograft model in which either agent is ineffective. Our data show that X-linked IAP (XIAP) and cellular IAP 1 (cIAP1), but not cIAP2, work in concert to attenuate the activity of TRAIL; SM-164 strongly enhances TRAIL activity by concurrently targeting XIAP and cIAP1. Moreover, although RIP1 plays a minimal role in the activity of TRAIL as a single agent, it is required for the synergistic interaction between TRAIL and SM-164. This study provides a strong rationale to develop the combination of SM-164 and TRAIL as a new therapeutic strategy for the treatment of human cancer.
    Molecular Cancer Therapeutics 03/2011; 10(5):902-14. DOI:10.1158/1535-7163.MCT-10-0864 · 6.11 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We report herein the structure-based design of a class of conformationally constrained, potent, cell-permeable small-molecule inhibitors to target the SH2 domain in STAT3. Compound 11 (CJ-1383) binds to STAT3 with a K(i) value of 0.95 µM, dose-dependently inhibits cellular STAT3 signaling and cancer cell growth, and induces apoptosis in the MDA-MB-468 cancer cell line with constitutively activated STAT3.
    ACS Medicinal Chemistry Letters 05/2010; 1(2):85-89. DOI:10.1021/ml100010j · 3.07 Impact Factor
  • Gastroenterology 05/2010; 138(5). DOI:10.1016/S0016-5085(10)60223-5 · 13.93 Impact Factor
  • Gastroenterology 05/2009; 136(5). DOI:10.1016/S0016-5085(09)60595-3 · 13.93 Impact Factor

Publication Stats

723 Citations
321.26 Total Impact Points

Institutions

  • 2001–2013
    • University of Michigan
      • • Department of Internal Medicine
      • • Department of Molecular and Integrative Physiology
      Ann Arbor, Michigan, United States
    • Howard Hughes Medical Institute
      Ashburn, Virginia, United States
  • 2008
    • Concordia University–Ann Arbor
      Ann Arbor, Michigan, United States