Identification of a Small Molecule with Synthetic Lethality for K-Ras and Protein Kinase C Iota

Department of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery, The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, Texas 77030, USA.
Cancer Research (Impact Factor: 9.33). 10/2008; 68(18):7403-8. DOI: 10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-08-1449
Source: PubMed


K-Ras mutations are frequently found in various cancers and are associated with resistance to treatment or poor prognosis. Similarly, poor outcomes have recently been observed in cancer patients with overexpression of protein kinase C iota (PKCiota), an atypical protein kinase C that is activated by oncogenic Ras protein and is required for K-Ras-induced transformation and colonic carcinogenesis in vivo. Thus far, there is no effective agent for treatment of cancers with K-Ras mutations or PKCiota overexpression. By synthetic lethality screening, we identified a small compound (designated oncrasin-1) that effectively kills various human lung cancer cells with K-Ras mutations at low or submicromolar concentrations. The cytotoxic effects correlated with apoptosis induction, as was evidenced by increase of apoptotic cells and activation of caspase-3 and caspase-8 upon the treatment of oncrasin-1 in sensitive cells. Treatment with oncrasin-1 also led to abnormal aggregation of PKCiota in the nucleus of sensitive cells but not in resistant cells. Furthermore, oncrasin-1-induced apoptosis was blocked by siRNA of K-Ras or PKCiota, suggesting that oncrasin-1 is targeted to a novel K-Ras/PKCiota pathway. The in vivo administration of oncrasin-1 suppressed the growth of K-ras mutant human lung tumor xenografts by >70% and prolonged the survival of nude mice bearing these tumors, without causing detectable toxicity. Our results indicate that oncrasin-1 or its active analogues could be a novel class of anticancer agents, which effectively kill K-Ras mutant cancer cells.

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    • "Synthetic lethality screening has recently been used by various investigators to identify genes that are crucial for survival of certain oncogene-transformed cells [1], [2] or that sensitize cells to chemotherapy [3], or small molecules that selectively induce cell death in a subset of oncogene-transformed cells [4]–[6]. The concept of synthetic lethality can be defined as a lethal phenotype elicited by two events or mutations in two genes. "
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    ABSTRACT: To optimize the antitumor activity of oncrasin-1, a small molecule identified through synthetic lethality screening on isogenic K-Ras mutant tumor cells, we developed several analogues and determined their antitumor activities. Here we investigated in vitro and in vivo antitumor activity of NSC-743380 (1-[(3-chlorophenyl) methyl]-1H-indole-3-methanol, oncrasin-72), one of most potent analogues of oncrasin-1. In vitro antitumor activity was determined in NCI-60 cancer cell line panel using cell viability assay. In vivo antitumor activity was determined in parallel with NSC-741909 (oncrasin-60) in xenograft tumors established in nude mice from A498, a human renal cancer cell line. Changes in gene expression levels and signaling pathway activities upon treatment with NSC-743380 were analyzed in breast and renal cancer cells by Western blot analysis. Apoptosis was demonstrated by Western blot analysis and flow cytometric analysis. NSC-743380 is highly active against a subset of cancer cell lines derived from human lung, colon, ovary, kidney, and breast cancers. The 50% growth-inhibitory concentration (GI(50)) for eight of the most sensitive cell lines was ≤ 10 nM. In vivo study showed that NSC-743380 has a better safety profile and greater antitumor activity than NSC-741909. Treatment with NSC-743380 caused complete regression of A498 xenograft tumors in nude mice at the tested doses ranging from 67 mg/kg to 150 mg/kg. Mechanistic characterization revealed that NSC-743380 suppressed the phosphorylation of C-terminal domain of RNA polymerase II, induced JNK activation, inhibited JAK2/STAT3 phosphorylation and suppressed cyclin D1 expression in sensitive human cancer cells. Blocking JNK activation or overexpression of constitutively active STAT3 partially blocked NSC-743380-induced antitumor activity. NSC-743380 induces antitumor activity through modulation of functions in multiple cancer related pathways and could be a potential anticancer agent for some solid tumors.
    Full-text · Article · Dec 2011 · PLoS ONE
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    • "Knowledge of drug–gene synthetic lethal interactions may also be used to design combination therapies and predict synergistic/sensitizer drugs [16,25–28]. This is particularly important in cancer and infectious diseases, as drug combinations with distinct cellular targets can limit treatment resistance and synergistic drugs can be used at much lower concentrations to achieve the same biological effect, thereby limiting side effects [29]. "
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    ABSTRACT: Synthetic lethality occurs when the simultaneous perturbation of two genes results in cellular or organismal death. Synthetic lethality also occurs between genes and small molecules, and can be used to elucidate the mechanism of action of drugs. This area has recently attracted attention because of the prospect of a new generation of anti-cancer drugs. Based on studies ranging from yeast to human cells, this review provides an overview of the general principles that underlie synthetic lethality and relates them to its utility for identifying gene function, drug action and cancer therapy. It also identifies the latest strategies for the large-scale mapping of synthetic lethalities in human cells which bring us closer to the generation of comprehensive human genetic interaction maps.
    Full-text · Article · Jan 2011 · FEBS letters
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    • "NSC-741909 is an analogue of oncrasin-1 which we identified as an anticancer agent through cell-based synthetic lethality screening (Guo et al. 2008). Testing of NCI-60 cell lines showed that NSC-741909 has a unique anticancer spectrum and is effective against a number of cancer cell lines derived from lung, colon, ovarian, kidney and breast cancers, suggesting its novel mechanisms (Wei et al.2009). "
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    ABSTRACT: NSC-741909 (1-[(4-chlorophenyl)methyl]-1H-Indole-3-methanol) is a novel anticancer agent that is highly active against several NCI-60 cancer cell lines. This agent induces sustained activation of mitogen-activated protein kinases (MAPK), including JNK and p38 MAP kinases. However, the mechanisms of its selective antitumor activity in some cancer cell lines remain unknown. We tested the combined effects of NSC-741909 and several kinase inhibitors that target the Raf/MEK/ERK1/2 or PI3K/AKT pathways in two sensitive lung cancer cells. We found that PD98059 (2'-amino-3'-methoxyflavone), a flavone derivative and a selective MEK inhibitor, can dramatically block the cell killing effect of NSC-741909. To determine whether this inhibitory effect is associated with MEK inhibition or other mechanisms, we evaluated the effects of other MEK inhibitors with different chemical structures and flavone derivatives that do not have an effect on MEK. We found that several flavonoids can markedly block NSC-741909-induced apoptosis and JNK activation in a time-dependent manner, regardless of whether they inhibit MEK or not. In contrast, NSC-741909-induced JNK activation and apoptosis were not blocked by other MEK-specific inhibitors U0126 and CI1040. Our results also showed that NSC-741909 induced a dramatic increase of reactive oxygen species in sensitive cells and that flavonoids effectively blocked the NSC-741909-induced reactive oxygen species production which are associated with flavonoids' antagonistic effects on NSC-741909-induced JNK activation and apoptosis. Those results demonstrated that flavonoids-mediated antagonist effect is through scavenging of reactive oxygen species. Our results may have implication on the design of clinical evaluation of antitumor activity of NSC-741909 or its analogues.
    Full-text · Article · Dec 2010 · European journal of pharmacology
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