bims-rehoca Biomed News
on Redox homeostasis in cancer
Issue of 2021‒08‒15
28 papers selected by
Vittoria Raimondi
Veneto Institute of Oncology

  1. Int J Pharm. 2021 Aug 04. pii: S0378-5173(21)00778-X. [Epub ahead of print]607 120972
      Disulfiram copper complex [Cu(DDC)2] nanoparticles have been explored as promising anticancer agents but with concerns of toxic side effects. To improve tumor specificity and enhance anticancer efficacy, we developed a novel [copper sulfide nanoparticle (CuS NP) + disulfiram prodrug (DQ) micelle + near-infrared (NIR) laser] (CDL) combination therapy. DQ, a reactive oxygen species (ROS)-responsive prodrug, can be selectively activated at the tumor site with elevated ROS to release DDC and form Cu(DDC)2in situ. The CuS NP + NIR laser treatment can effectively increase the intra-tumor ROS levels and efficiently activate the DQ prodrug. The CDL therapy kills cancer cells through multiple mechanisms, including ROS amplification cascade and Cu(DDC)2 chemotherapy. NIR light-triggered tumor-specific "nontoxic-to-toxic" transition can significantly improve the specificity of anticancer effects and reduce systemic toxicity. Also, CDL therapy can effectively induce immunogenic cell death (ICD) and has the potential of eliciting antitumor immunity.
    Keywords:  CuS nanoparticles; Disulfiram prodrug; Immunogenic cell death (ICD); Near-infrared laser; Reactive oxygen species (ROS)
  2. Macromol Biosci. 2021 Aug 12. e2100229
      The integration of hypoxia-activated chemotherapy with photodynamic therapy (PDT) has newly become a potent strategy for tumor treatment. Herein, a reactive oxygen species (ROS)-responsive drug carriers (PS@AQ4N/mPEG-b-PSe NPs) are fabricated based on the amphiphilic selenium-containing methoxy poly(ethylene glycol)-polycarbonate (mPEG-b-PSe), the hydrophobic photosensitizer (PS), and hypoxia-activated prodrug Banoxantrone (AQ4N). The obtained nanoparticles are spherical with an average diameter of 100 nm as characterized by transmission electron microscope (TEM) and dynamic laser scattering (DLS) respectively. The encapsulation efficiency of the PS and AQ4N reaches 92.83% and 51.04% at different conditions, respectively, by UV-vis spectrophotometer. It is found that the drug release is accelerated due to the good ROS responsiveness of mPEG-b-PSe and the cumulative release of AQ4N is up to 89% within 30 h. The cell test demonstrates that the nanoparticles dissociate when triggered by the ROS stimuli in the cancer cells, thus the PS is exposed to more oxygen and the ROS generation efficiency is enhanced accordingly. The consumption of oxygen during PDT leads to the increased tumor hypoxia, and subsequently activates AQ4N into cytotoxic counterpart to inhibit tumor growth. Therefore, the synergistic therapeutic efficacy demonstrates this drug delivery has great potential for antitumor therapy.
    Keywords:  ROS responsive; hypoxia-activated prodrugs; photodynamic therapy; polycarbonates; selenium
  3. Adv Sci (Weinh). 2021 Aug 08. e2101501
      The balance between antioxidants and reactive oxygen species (ROS) critically regulates tumor initiation and progression. However, whether and how the tumor-favoring redox status is controlled by cytokine networks remain poorly defined. Here, it is shown that IL-36γ and IL-36Ra reciprocally regulate the progression of non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) by modulating glutathione metabolism and ROS resolution. Knockout, inhibition, or neutralization of IL-36γ significantly inhibits NSCLC progression and prolongs survival of the KrasLSL-G12D/+ Tp53fl/fl and KrasLSL-G12D/+ Lkb1fl/fl mice after tumor induction, whereas knockout of IL-36Ra exacerbates tumorigenesis in these NSCLC mouse models and accelerates death of mice. Mechanistically, IL-36γ directly upregulates an array of genes involved in glutathione homeostasis to reduce ROS and prevent oxidative stress-induced cell death, which is mitigated by IL-36Ra or IL-36γ neutralizing antibody. Consistently, IL-36γ staining is positively and negatively correlated with glutathione biosynthesis and ROS in human NSCLC tumor biopsies, respectively. These findings highlight essential roles of cytokine networks in redox for tumorigenesis and provide potential therapeutic strategy for NSCLC.
    Keywords:  IL-36γ; IL-36Ra; glutathione metabolism; non-small cell lung cancer; oxidative stress; reactive oxygen species
  4. J Mater Chem B. 2021 Aug 12.
      Photodynamic therapy (PDT) is an approved and promising treatment approach that utilizes a photosensitizer (PS) to produce cytotoxic reactive oxygen species (ROS) through irradiation to achieve tumor noninvasive therapy. However, the limited singlet oxygen generation, the nonspecific uptake of PS in normal cells, and tumor hypoxia have become major challenges in conventional PDT, impeding its development and further clinical application. This review summarizes an overview of recent advances for the enhanced PDT. The development of PDT with innovative strategies, including molecular engineering and heavy atom-free photosensitizers is presented and future directions in this promising field are also provided. This review aims to highlight the recent advances in PDT and discuss the potential strategies that show promise in overcoming the challenges of PDT.
  5. Biol Trace Elem Res. 2021 Aug 13.
      Nanoparticles (NPs) have been reported to be promising enhancement agents for radiation therapy. The aim of the study was to assess the cytotoxicity of UV non-treated and UV pretreated GdYVO4:Eu3+ nanoparticles against erythrocytes and leukocytes by detecting eryptosis and reactive oxygen species (ROS) generation. Levels of intracellular ROS in erythrocytes and leukocytes using a ROS-sensitive dye 2',7'-dichlorodihydrofluorescein diacetate (H2DCFDA), as well as eryptosis rate utilizing annexin V staining, following direct exposure to UV-activated and nonactivated NPs were detected by flow cytometry. Blood cells were collected from 9 intact WAG rats. Neither the UV light-untreated GdYVO4:Eu3+ NPs nor the treated ones promoted eryptosis and ROS generation in erythrocytes. Low concentrations of UV light-untreated NPs did not induce oxidative stress in leukocytes, evidenced by unaffected intracellular ROS levels. UV light treatment grants prooxidant properties to NPs, confirmed by NP-induced ROS overproduction in leukocytes. High concentrations of both UV light-treated and untreated NPs altered the redox state of leukocytes. UV light treatment imparts prooxidant properties to GdYVO4:Eu3+ NPs, making them promising radiosensitizing agents in cancer radiation therapy.
    Keywords:  2ʹ,7ʹ-dichlorodihydrofluorescein diacetate; Annexin V; Eryptosis; Flow cytometry; Nanomaterials; Oxidative stress
  6. Adv Sci (Weinh). 2021 Aug 08. e2101065
      In various reactive oxygen species (ROS)-based antitumor approaches (e.g., photodynamic therapy), increasing attentions are made to improve ROS level, but the short lifetime that is another decisive hurdle of ROS-based antitumor outcomes is not even explored yet. To address it, a photocleaved O2 -released nanoplatform is constructed to release and switch ROS into reactive nitrogen species (RNS) for repressing hypoxic breast tumor. Systematic explorations validate that the nanoplatforms can attain continuous photocontrolled O2 release, alleviate hypoxia, and elevate ROS level. More significantly, the entrapped PDE5 inhibitor (PDE5-i) in this nanoplatform can be enzymatically decomposed into nitric oxide that further combines with ROS to generate RNS, enabling the persistent antitumor effect since RNS features longer lifetime than ROS. Intriguingly, ROS conversion into RNS can help ROS to evade the hypoxia-induced resistance to ROS-based antitumor. Eventually, RNS production unlocks robust antitumor performances along with ROS elevation and hypoxia mitigation. Moreover, this extraordinary conversion from ROS into RNS also can act as a general method to solve the short lifetime of ROS.
    Keywords:  PDE5 inhibition; hypoxia mitigation; photocleaved O2 release; reactive nitriogen species; reactive oxygen species; short lifetime
  7. J Inorg Biochem. 2021 Aug 04. pii: S0162-0134(21)00208-7. [Epub ahead of print]224 111561
      Four ferrocene derivatives - ferrocenecarboxylic acid, ferrocenium salt, ferroceneboronic acid, and aminoferrocene - were characterized electrochemically, and their cytotoxicity was probed using cancer cells (line MG-63). We related the observed cytotoxicity with the determined redox potentials of these four ferrocenes - aminoferrocene with its lowest redox potential exhibited the highest cytotoxicity. Thus, we synthesized four derivatives consisting of aminoferrocene and phenylboronic acid residue with the intent to employ them as ROS-activated prodrugs (ROS - reactive oxygen species). We characterized them and studied their time-dependent stability in aqueous environments. Then, we performed electrochemical measurements at oxidative conditions to confirm ROS-responsivity of the synthesized molecules. Finally, the cytotoxicity of the synthesized molecules was tested using cancer MG-63 cells and noncancerous NIH-3T3 cells. The experiments revealed sought behaviour, especially for para-regioisomers of synthesized ferrocenyliminoboronates.
    Keywords:  Aminoferrocene; Electrochemical characterization; Ferrocenyliminoboronates; MG-63; ROS-activated prodrugs; Redox-dependent cytotoxicity
  8. Med Chem. 2021 Aug 05.
      AIMS: The purpose of our study was to explore the molecular hybridization between 2-imino-4-thizolidione and piridinic scaffolds and its potential antitumor activity.BACKGROUND: Glioblastoma is the most aggressive glioma tumor clinically diagnosed malignant and highly recurrent primary brain tumor type. The standard of treatment for a glioblastoma is surgery, followed by radiation and chemotherapy using temozolomide. However, the chemoresistance has become the main barrier to treatment success. 2-imino-4-thiazolidinones are an important class of heterocyclic compounds that feature anticancer activity; however the antiglioblastoma activity is yet to be explored.
    OBJECTIVE: To synthesize and characterize a series of novel 2-imino-4-thiazolidinones and evaluate their antiglioblastoma activity.
    METHOD: The 2-imino-4-thiazolidinone (5a-p) was synthesized according to the literature with modifications. Compounds were identified and characterized using spectroscopic analysis and X-ray diffraction. The antitumor activity was analyzed by 3-(4,5- dimethyl)-2,5-diphenyltetrazolium bromide (MTT) assay both in primary astrocyte and glioma (C6). Apoptosis and cell cycle phase were determined by flow cytometry analysis. The expression of caspase-3/7 was measured by luminescence assay. Oxidative stress parameters as: determination of reactive oxygen species (ROS), superoxide dismutase (SOD) activity, catalase (CAT) activity and total sulfhydryl content quantification were analyzed by colorimetric assays according to literature.
    RESULTS: Among sixteen synthesized compounds, three displayed potent antitumor activities against tested glioblastoma cell line showed IC50 values well below the standard drug temozolomide. Therefore, compounds 5a, 5l and 5p were evaluated using cell cycle and death analysis, due to potent toxicity (2.17±1.17, 6.24±0.59, 2.93±1.12µM, respectively) in C6 cell line. The mechanism of action studies demonstrated that 5a and 5l induced apoptosis significantly increase the percentage of cells in Sub-G1 phase in the absence of necrosis. Consistent with these results, caspase-3/7 assay revealed that 5l presents pro-apoptotic activity due to the significant stimulation of caspases-3/7. Moreover, 5a, 5l and 5p increased antioxidant defense and decreased reactive oxygen species (ROS) production.
    CONCLUSION: The compounds were synthesized with good yield and three of these presented (5a, 5l and 5p) good cytotoxicity against C6 cell line. Both affected cell cycle distribution via arresting more C6 cell line at Sub-G1 phase promoting apoptosis. Furthermore, 5a, 5l and 5p modulated redox status. These findings suggest that these compounds can be considered as promising lead molecules for further development of potential antitumor agents.
    Keywords:  2-imino-4-thiazolidinone; antioxidant; apoptosis; caspase-3/7 assay; flow cytometry; glioblastoma
  9. ACS Omega. 2021 Aug 03. 6(30): 19445-19457
      Radiotherapy (RT) combined with chemotherapy remains a dominant therapeutic manner in clinical tumor treatment, which is irreplaceable in a short term. To seek an intrinsic connection of combined chemoradiation therapy and maximize the antitumor efficacy, we developed a reactive oxygen species (ROS)-sensitive nanomicelle drug delivery system based on a self-assembled amphiphilic polymer, hyaluronic acid-graft-poly-(propylene sulfide) (HA-PPS). A chemical radiosensitizer, doxorubicin (DOX), was encapsulated into the core of HA-PPS nanomicelles, constituting the DOX-loaded nanomicelles (HA-PPS@DOX NMs) with a spherical structure of around 205.10 ± 11.33 nm diameter with a narrow polydispersity index (PDI) of 0.135 ± 0.01. When combined with RT, the ROS-sensitive HA-PPS@DOX NMs disintegrated and released great drug cargos, which further enhanced cytotoxicity. Meanwhile, as a radiosensitizer, the released DOX sensitized cancer cells to radiotherapy, which has been confirmed by an enhanced sensitizer enhancement ratio (SER) value of 1.78 contributing to the increased cytotoxicity of concurrent chemoradiation tumor therapy, as evidenced by the improvement of half maximal inhibitory concentration (IC50 value) of DOX from 2.316 to 0.8235 μg/mL. Moreover, in vivo studies revealed that HA-PPS@DOX NMs exhibited prolonged circulation time and improved tumor accumulation. Particularly, the released DOX triggered by radiation strengthened radiotherapy sensitization in return. Consequently, these superiorities of HA-PPS@DOX NMs shown by the concurrent chemoradiation tumor therapy resulted in an ideal tumor inhibition rate of 70.4%, thus providing a promising ROS-sensitive nanomedicine for cancer treatment.
  10. Oncol Lett. 2021 Sep;22(3): 657
      Melanoma, the most aggressive skin cancer, is mainly treated with BRAF inhibitors or immunotheareapy. However, most patients who initially responded to BRAF inhibitors or immunotheareapy become resistant following relapse. Ferroptosis is a form of regulated cell death characterized by its dependence on iron ions and the accumulation of lipid reactive oxygen species (ROS). Recent studies have demonstrated that ferroptosis is a good method for tumor treatment, and iron homeostasis is closely associated with ferroptosis. Iron regulatory protein (IRP)1 and 2 play important roles in maintaining iron homeostasis, but their functions in ferroptosis have not been investigated. The present study reported that the expression of IRP1 and IRP2 was increased by the ferroptosis inducers erastin and RSL3 in melanoma cells. Depletion of IRP1 significantly suppressed erastin- and RSL3-induced ferroptosis. IRP2 had a weak effect but could enhance the promoting function of IRP1 on ferroptosis. Further, erastin and RSL3 promoted the transition of aconitase 1 to IRP1, which regulated downstream iron metabolism proteins, including transferrin receptor (TFRC), ferroportin (FPN) and ferritin heavy chain 1 (FTH1). Moreover, overexpression of TFRC and knockdown of FPN and FTH1 significantly promoted erastin- and RSL3-induced ferroptosis in IRP1 knockdown melanoma cells. Collectively, the present findings indicate that IRP1 plays an essential role in erastin- and RSL3-induced ferroptosis by regulating iron homeostasis.
    Keywords:  ferritin; ferroportin; ferroptosis; iron regulatory protein 1; melanoma; transferrin receptor
  11. ACS Appl Mater Interfaces. 2021 Aug 12.
      Autophagy inhibition could hinder the underlying protective mechanisms in the course of tumor treatment. The advances in autophagy inhibition have driven focus on the functionalized nanoplatforms by combining the current treatment paradigms with complementary autophagy inhibition for enhanced efficacy. Furthermore, Ca2+ overload is also a promising adjuvant target for the tumor treatment by augmenting mitochondrial damage. In this view, complementary mitochondrial Ca2+ overload and autophagy inhibition were first demonstrated as a novel strategy suitable for homing in on the shortage of photodynamic therapy (PDT). We constructed biodegradable tumor-targeted inorganic/organic hybrid nanocomposites (DPGC/OI) synchronously encapsulating IR780 and Obatoclax by biomineralization of the nanofilm method, which consists of pH-triggered calcium phosphate (CP), long circulation phospholipid block copolymers 1,2-distearoyl-sn-glycero-3-phosphoethanolamine (DSPE)-poly(ethylene glycol) (PEG)2000-glucose (DPG). In the presence of the hydrophilic PEG chain and glucose transporter 1 (Glut-1) ligands, DPGC would become an effectively tumor-oriented nanoplatform. Subsequently, IR780 as an outstanding photosensitizer could produce increased amounts of toxic reactive oxygen species (ROS) after laser irradiation. Calcium phosphate (CP) as the Ca2+ nanogenerator could generate Ca2+ at low pH to induce mitochondrial Ca2+ overload. The dysfunction of mitochondria could enhance increased amounts of ROS. Based on the premise that autophagy would degrade dysfunctional organelles to sustain metabolism and homeostasis, which might participate in resistance to PDT, Obatoclax as an autophagy inhibitor would hinder the protective mechanism from cancer cells with negligible toxicity. Such an enhanced PDT via mitochondrial Ca2+ overload and autophagy inhibition could be realized by DPGC/OI.
    Keywords:  DSPE-PEG-glucose; ROS; autophagy inhibition; calcium phosphate; mitochondrial Ca2+ overload; photodynamic therapy
  12. Lab Invest. 2021 Aug 09.
      Resistance to chemotherapy is frequently driven by aberrantly activated kinases in cancer. Herein, we characterized the global phosphoproteomic alterations associated with methotrexate (MTX) resistance in gestational trophoblastic neoplastic (GTN) cells. A total of 1111 phosphosites on 713 proteins were significantly changed, with highly elevated Ribosomal S6 Kinase 2 (RSK2) phosphorylation (pS227) observed in MTX-resistant GTN cells. Activation of RSK2 promoted cell proliferation and survival after MTX treatment in GTN cell models. Interestingly, RSK2 might play an important role in the regulation of reactive oxygen species (ROS) homeostasis, as manipulation of RSK2 activation affected ROS accumulation and SOX8 expression in GTN cells. In addition, overexpression of SOX8 partly rescued cell proliferation and survival in RSK2-depleted MTX-resistant GTN cells, suggesting that SOX8 might serve as a downstream effector of RSK2 to promote MTX resistance in GTN cells. Highly activated RSK2/SOX8 signaling was observed in MTX-resistant GTN specimens. Further, the RSK2 inhibitor BIX02565 effectively reduced SOX8 expression, induced ROS accumulation, and enhanced MTX-induced cytotoxicity in vitro and in vivo. Collectively, our findings suggested that RSK2 activation could promote MTX resistance via upregulating SOX8 and attenuating MTX-induced ROS in GTN cells, which may help to develop experimental therapeutics to treat MTX-resistant GTN.
  13. J Genet Genomics. 2021 Jul 15. pii: S1673-8527(21)00201-0. [Epub ahead of print]
      Anlotinib, a novel multitarget tyrosine kinase inhibitor, has shown promising results in the management of various carcinomas. This study aimed to investigate the antitumor activity of anlotinib in oral squamous cell carcinoma (OSCC) and the underlying molecular mechanism. A retrospective clinical study revealed that anlotinib improved the median progression-free survival (mPFS) and median overall survival (mOS) of patients with recurrent and metastatic (R/M) OSCC, respectively. Functional studies revealed that anlotinib markedly inhibited in vitro proliferation of OSCC cells and impeded in vivo tumor growth of OSCC patient-derived xenograft models. Mechanistically, RNA-sequencing identified that oxidative stress, oxidative phosphorylation and AKT/mTOR signaling were involved in anlotinib-treated OSCC cells. Anlotinib upregulated NADPH oxidase 5 (NOX5) expression, elevated reactive oxygen species (ROS) production, impaired mitochondrial respiration, and promoted apoptosis. Moreover, anlotinb also inhibited phospho-Akt (p-AKT) expression and elevated p-eIF2α expression in OSCC cells. NOX5 knockdown attenuated these inhibitory effects and cytotoxicity in anlotinib-treated OSCC cells. Collectively, we demonstrated that anlotinib monotherapy demonstrated favorable anticancer activity and manageable toxicities in patients with R/M OSCC. The antitumor activity of anlotinib in OSCC may be mainly involved in the suppression of mitochondrial respiration via NOX5-mediated redox imbalance and the AKT/eIF2α pathway.
    Keywords:  Anlotinib; Mitochondrial respiration function; NOX5; Oral squamous cell carcinoma; Oxidative phosphorylation; Oxidative stress
  14. Eur J Med Chem. 2021 Aug 08. pii: S0223-5234(21)00595-X. [Epub ahead of print]225 113746
      Theranostic prodrug was highly desirable for precise diagnosis and anti-cancer therapy to decrease side effects. However, it is difficult to conjugate chemo-drug and molecular probe for combined therapy due to the complex pharmacokinetics of different molecules. Here, a novel anticancer theranostic prodrug (BTMP-SS-PTX) had been designed and synthesized by conjugating paclitaxel (PTX) with 2-(benzo[d]thiazol-2-yl)-4-methoxyphenol (BTMP) through a disulphide (-S-S-) linkage, which was redox-sensitive to the high concentration of glutathione in tumors. Upon activation with glutathione in weakly acid media, the BTMP-SS-PTX can be dissociated to release free PTX and visible BTMP, which realized the visual tracking of free drug. The cytotoxicity study demonstrated that soluble prodrug BTMP-SS-PTX displayed more outstanding anticancer activity in HepG2, MCF-7 and HeLa cells, lower toxicity to non-cancer cells (293 T) than free drugs. Furthermore, BTMP-SS-PTX was still able to induce apoptosis of HeLa cells and significantly inhibited tumor growth in HeLa-xenograft mouse model. On the basis of these findings, BTMP-SS-PTX could play a potential role in cancer diagnosis and therapy.
    Keywords:  Combination therapy; Paclitaxel; Prodrug; Redox-sensitive; Theranostic
  15. J Cell Mol Med. 2021 Aug 08.
      Pyroptosis is a new form of programmed cell death generated by some inflammasomes, piloting the cleavage of gasdermin (GSDM) and stimulation of dormant cytokines like IL-18 and IL-1β; these reactions are narrowly linked to certain diseases like diabetic nephropathy and atherosclerosis. Doxorubicin, a typical anthracycline, and famous anticancer drug has emerged as a prominent medication in several cancer chemotherapies, although its application is accompanied with expending of dose-dependent, increasing, irreversible and continuing cardiotoxic side effects. However, the exact path that links the induced pyroptosis to the mechanism by which Doxorubicin (DOX) acts against breast cancer cells is still puzzling. The present study seeks to elucidate the potential link between DOX-induced cell death and pyroptosis in two human breast cancer cell lines (MDA-MB-231 and T47D). We proved that treatment with DOX reduced the cell viability in a dose-dependent way and induced pyroptosis morphology in MDA-MB-231 and T47D cells. Also, protein expression analyses revealed GSDME as a key regulator in DOX-induced pyroptosis and highlighted the related role of Caspase-3 activation. Furthermore, DOX treatments induced intracellular accumulation of ROS, stimulated the phosphorylation of JNK, and Caspase-3 activation, subsequently. In conclusion, the study suggests that GSDME triggered DOX-induced pyroptosis in the caspase-3 dependent reactions through the ROS/JNK signalling pathway. Additionally, it showed that the DOX-induced cardiotoxicity and pyroptosis in breast cancer cells can be minimized by reducing the protein level of GSDME; thus, these outcomes provide a new research target and implications for the anticancer investigations and therapeutic applications.
    Keywords:  GSDME; ROS/JNK pathway; breast cancer; doxorubicin; pyroptosis
  16. Theranostics. 2021 ;11(17): 8587-8604
      Background: Sonodynamic therapy (SDT) is a promising strategy to inhibit tumor growth and activate antitumor immune responses for immunotherapy. However, the hypoxic and immunosuppressive tumor microenvironment limits its therapeutic efficacy and suppresses immune response. Methods: In this study, mitochondria-targeted and ultrasound-responsive nanoparticles were developed to co-deliver oxygen (O2) and nitric oxide (NO) to enhance SDT and immune response. This system (PIH-NO) was constructed with a human serum albumin-based NO donor (HSA-NO) to encapsulate perfluorodecalin (FDC) and the sonosensitizer (IR780). In vitro, the burst release of O2 and NO with US treatment to generate reactive oxygen species (ROS), the mitochondria targeting properties and mitochondrial dysfunction were evaluated in tumor cells. Moreover, in vivo, tumor accumulation, therapeutic efficacy, the immunosuppressive tumor microenvironment, immunogenic cell death, and immune activation after PIH-NO treatment were also studied in 4T1 tumor bearing mice. Results: PIH-NO could accumulate in the mitochondria and relive hypoxia. After US irradiation, O2 and NO displayed burst release to enhance SDT, generated strongly oxidizing peroxynitrite anions, and led to mitochondrial dysfunction. The release of NO increased blood perfusion and enhanced the accumulation of the formed nanoparticles. Owing to O2 and NO release with US, PIH-NO enhanced SDT to inhibit tumor growth and amplify immunogenic cell death in vitro and in vivo. Additionally, PIH-NO promoted the maturation of dendritic cells and increased the number of infiltrating immune cells. More importantly, PIH-NO polarized M2 macrophages into M1 phenotype and depleted myeloid-derived suppressor cells to reverse immunosuppression and enhance immune response. Conclusion: Our findings provide a simple strategy to co-deliver O2 and NO to enhance SDT and reverse immunosuppression, leading to an increase in the immune response for cancer immunotherapy.
    Keywords:  Immune response; Mitochondria-targeted; Oxygen and nitric oxide codelivery; Reverse immunosuppression; Sonodynamic therapy
  17. Anticancer Agents Med Chem. 2021 Aug 10.
      BACKGROUND: Conventional therapies for breast cancer is still a challenge due to use of cytotoxic drugs not highly effective with major adverse effects. Thiohydantoins, are biologically active heterocyclic compounds reported by several biological activities, including anticarcinogenic properties, i.e., this work aimed to assess the use of thiohydantoin as a potential antitumor agent against MCF-7 breast cancer cells.METHODS: MTT and neutral red assays were used to assess the possible cytotoxic activity of compounds against MCF-7 cells. Cell volume measurement and analysis were performed by flow cytometry, fluorescence analysis was carried out to determine patterns of cell death induced by thiohydantoins.
    RESULTS: The treatment with micromolar doses of thiohydantoins promoted a decrease in the viability of MCF-7 breast tumor cells. Also were observed the increase in ROS and NO production, reduction in cell volume, loss of membrane integrity, mitochondrial depolarization, and increased fluorescence for annexin V and caspase-3. These findings indicate cell death by apoptosis and increased formation of autophagic vacuoles and stopping the cell cycle in the G1/ G0 phase.
    CONCLUSIONS: Our results indicate that thiohydantoins are cytotoxic to breast tumor cells, and this effect is linked to the increase in ROS production. This phenomenon changes tumorigenic pathways, that lead to a halt of the cell cycle in G1/G0, an important checkpoint for DNA errors, which may have altered the process by which cells produce energy, causing a decrease in mitochondrial viability and thus leading to the apoptotic process. Furthermore, the results indicate increased autophagy, a vital process linked to a decrease in lysosomal viability and considered as a cell death and tumor suppression mechanism.
    Keywords:  Heterocyclics; MCF-7; ROS; apoptosis. ; breast cancer; thiohydantoins
  18. Food Chem Toxicol. 2021 Aug 10. pii: S0278-6915(21)00517-2. [Epub ahead of print] 112484
      Colorectal cancer remains a challenging health burden worldwide. This study aimed to assess the potentiality of Strawberry tree honey (STH), a polyphenol-enriched food, to increase the effectiveness of 5-Fluorouracil (5-FU) in adenocarcinoma (HCT-116) and metastatic (LoVo) colon cancer cell lines. The combined treatment reduced cell viability and caused oxidative stress, by increasing oxidative biomarkers and decreasing antioxidant defence, in a more potent way compared to 5-FU alone. The expression of endoplasmic reticulum (ATF-6, XBP-1) and MAPK (p-p38 MAPK, p-ERK1/2) markers were also elevated after the combined treatment, enhancing the cell cycle arrest through the modulation of regulatory genes (i.e., cyclins and CDKs). Apoptotic gene (i.e., caspases) expressions were also increased after the combined treatment, while those of proliferation (i.e., EGFR), cell migration, invasion (i.e., matrix metallopeptidase) and epithelial-mesenchymal transition (N-cadherin, β-catenin) were suppressed. Finally, the combined treatment led cell metabolism towards a quiescent stage, by reducing mitochondrial respiration and glycolysis. In conclusion, this work represents an initial step to highlight the possibility to use STH in combination with 5-FU in the treatment of colon cancer, even if further in vitro an in vivo studies are strongly needed to confirm the possible chemo-sensitizing effects of STH.
    Keywords:  5-Fluorouracil; Apoptosis; Colon cancer prevention; Reactive oxygen species; Strawberry tree honey; Synergistic effect
  19. Oncotarget. 2021 Aug 03. 12(16): 1629-1630
    Keywords:  NADPH; SLC7A11; cysteine; cystine; glucose starvation
  20. Biomater Sci. 2021 Aug 08.
      The lack of sensitive detection techniques and agents for early-stage tumors, which are characterized by small size, juvenile blood vessels and scarce secreted markers, has hampered timely cancer therapy and human well-being. Herein, the natural product pyropheophorbide-a (PPa) and FDA-approved Pluronic F127 are organized to develop F127-PPa nanomicelles with favorable size, red-shifted fluorescence and decent biocompatibility. After intravenous (i.v.) injection, the F127-PPa nanomicelles could not only accurately identify early-stage xenografted tumors, but also sensitively detect cancer metastasis in lungs through near-infrared (NIR) fluorescence imaging. The fluorescence signals are consistent with radionuclide imaging, photoacoustic (PA) imaging and bioluminescence imaging of tumors, consolidating the reliability of using F127-PPa nanomicelles for sensitive cancer diagnosis in a non-invasive and low-cost manner. Moreover, the fluorescence intensity of small tumors is linearly correlated with the tumoral mass ranging from 10 to 120 mg with a fluorescence coefficient of 4.5 × 107 mg-1. Under the guidance of multimodal imaging, the tumors could be thoroughly eradicated by F127-PPa under laser irradiation due to efficient reactive oxygen species (ROS) generation. These findings may provide clinically translatable agents and strategies for sensitive diagnosis of early-stage tumors and timely cancer therapy.
  21. Free Radic Biol Med. 2021 Aug 05. pii: S0891-5849(21)00465-2. [Epub ahead of print]
      The intrinsic chemoresistance of pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) represents the main obstacle in treating this aggressive malignancy. It has been observed that high antioxidant levels and upregulated Nrf2 and the YAP protein expression can be involved in PDAC chemoresistance. The mechanisms of Nrf2 and YAP increase need to be clarified. We chose a panel of PDAC cell lines with diverse sensitivity to cisplatin and gemcitabine. In PANC-1 chemoresistant cells, we found a low level of oxidative stress and high levels of Nrf2 and YAP protein expressions and their respective targets. On the contrary, in CFPAC-1 chemosensitive cells, we found high levels of oxidative stress and low level of these two proteins, as well as their respective targets. In MiaPaCa-2 cells with a middle chemoresistance, we observed intermediate features. When Nrf2 and YAP were inhibited in PANC-1 cells by Ailanthone, a plant extract, we observed a reduction of viability, thus sustaining the role of these two proteins in maintaining the PDAC chemoresistance. We then delved into the mechanisms of the Nrf2 and YAP protein upregulation in chemoresistance, discovering that it was at a post-translational level since the mRNA expressions did not match the protein levels. Treatments of PANC-1 cells with the proteasome inhibitor MG-132 and the protein synthesis inhibitor cycloheximide further confirmed this observation. The expression of DUB3 and OTUD1 deubiquitinases, involved in the control of Nrf2 and YAP protein level, respectively, was also investigated. Both protein expressions were higher in PANC-1 cells, intermediate in MiaPaCa-2 cells, and lower in CFPAC-1 cells. When DUB3 or OTUD1 were silenced, both Nrf2 and YAP expressions were downregulated. Importantly, in deubiquitinase-silenced cells, we observed a great reduction of proliferation and a higher sensitivity to gemcitabine treatment, suggesting that DUB3 and OTUD1 can represent a suitable target to overcome chemoresistance in PDAC cells.
    Keywords:  Chemoresistance; Deubiquitinases; Nrf2; Oxidative stress; PDAC cells; YAP
  22. Eur J Med Chem. 2021 Jul 28. pii: S0223-5234(21)00579-1. [Epub ahead of print]223 113730
      Alterations in lipid metabolism, commonly disregarded in the past, have been accepted as a hallmark for cancer. Exploring cancer therapeutics that interrupt the lipid metabolic pathways by monotherapy or combination with conventional chemotherapy or immunotherapy is of great importance. Here we modified cisplatin with an FDA-approved hypolipidemic drug, bezafibrate (BEZ), via the well-established Pt(IV) strategy, affording two multi-functional Pt(IV) anticancer agents cis,cis,trans-[Pt(NH3)2Cl2(BEZ)(OH)] (CB) and cis,cis,trans-[Pt(NH3)2Cl2(BEZ)2] (CP) (BEZ = bezafibrate). The Pt(IV) prodrug CB exhibited an enhanced anticancer activity up to 187-fold greater than the clinical anticancer drug cisplatin. Both CB and CP had less toxicity to normal cells, showing higher efficacies and superior therapeutic indexes than cisplatin. Mechanism studies revealed that the bezafibrate-conjugated Pt(IV) complex CB, as a representative, could massively accumulate in A549 cells and genomic DNA, induce DNA damage, elevate intracellular ROS levels, perturb mitochondrial transmembrane potentials, activate the cellular metabolic sensor AMPK, and result in profound proliferation inhibition and apoptosis. Further cellular data also provided evidence that phosphorylation of AMPK, as a metabolic sensor, could suppress the downstream HMGB1, NF-κB, and VEGFA, which may contribute to the inhibition of angiogenesis and metastasis. Our study suggests that the antitumor action of CB and CP mechanistically distinct from the conventional platinum drugs and that functionalizing platinum-based agents with lipid-modulating agents may represent a novel practical strategy for cancer treatment.
    Keywords:  Apoptosis; Bezafibrate; Hypolipidemic drug; Oxidative stress; Pt(IV) prodrugs; ROS-AMPK pathway
  23. Cell Cycle. 2021 Aug 12. 1-16
      The hypoxia-induced transcription factor HIF1 inhibits cell growth in normoxia through poorly understood mechanisms. A constitutive upregulation of hypoxia response is associated with increased malignancy, indicating a loss of antiproliferative effects of HIF1 in cancer cells. To understand these differences, we examined a control of cell cycle in primary human cells with activated hypoxia response in normoxia. Activated HIF1 caused a global slowdown of cell cycle progression through G1, S and G2 phases leading to the loss of mitotic cells. Cell cycle inhibition required a prolonged HIF1 activation and was not associated with upregulation of p53 or the CDK inhibitors p16, p21 or p27. Growth inhibition by HIF1 was independent of its Asn803 hydroxylation or the presence of HIF2. Antiproliferative effects of hypoxia response were alleviated by inhibition of lactate dehydrogenase and more effectively, by boosting cellular production of NAD+, which was decreased by HIF1 activation. In comparison to normal cells, various cancer lines showed several fold-higher expression of NAMPT which is a rate-limiting enzyme in the main biosynthetic pathway for NAD+. Inhibition of NAMPT activity in overexpressor cancer cells sensitized them to antigrowth effects of HIF1. Thus, metabolic changes in cancer cells, such as enhanced NAD+ production, create resistance to growth-inhibitory activity of HIF1 permitting manifestation of its tumor-promoting properties.AbbreviationsDMOG: dimethyloxalylglycine, DM-NOFD: dimethyl N-oxalyl-D-phenylalanine, NMN: β-nicotinamide mononucleotide.
    Keywords:  HIF1A; NAD+; NAMPT; cell cycle; hypoxia
  24. Oxid Med Cell Longev. 2021 ;2021 5428364
      Background: Although the efficacy of epidermal growth factor receptor-tyrosine kinase inhibitor (EGFR- TKI) therapy has been proven in non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) patients, acquired resistance to EGFR-TKIs presents a serious clinical problem. Hence, the identification of new therapeutic strategy is needed to treat EGFR-TKI-resistant NSCLC.Methods: Acquired EGFR-TKI-resistant lung cancer cell lines (HCC827, H1993, and H292 cells with acquired resistance to gefitinib or erlotinib) were used for cell-based studies. IncuCyte live cell analysis system and XFp analyzer were used for the determination of cell proliferation and energy metabolism, respectively. In vivo anticancer effect of phenformin was assessed in xenografts implanting HCC827 and gefitinib-resistant HCC827 (HCC827 GR) cells.
    Results: HCC827 GR and erlotinib-resistant H1993 (H1993 ER) cells exhibited different metabolic properties compared with their respective parental cells, HCC827, and H1993. In EGFR-TKI-resistant NSCLC cells, glycolysis markers including the glucose consumption rate, intracellular lactate level, and extracellular acidification rate were decreased; however, mitochondrial oxidative phosphorylation (OXPHOS) markers including mitochondria-driven ATP production, mitochondrial membrane potential, and maximal OXPHOS capacity were increased. Cell proliferation and tumor growth were strongly inhibited by biguanide phenformin via targeting of mitochondrial OXPHOS complex 1 in EGFR-TKI-resistant NSCLC cells. Inhibition of OXPHOS resulted in a reduced NAD+/NADH ratio and intracellular aspartate levels. Recovery of glycolysis by hexokinase 2 overexpression in erlotinib-resistant H292 (H292 ER) cells significantly reduced the anticancer effects of phenformin.
    Conclusion: Long-term treatment with EGFR-TKIs causes reactivation of mitochondrial metabolism, resulting in vulnerability to OXPHOS inhibitor such as phenformin. We propose a new therapeutic option for NSCLC with acquired EGFR-TKI resistance that focuses on cancer metabolism.
  25. J Transl Med. 2021 Aug 09. 19(1): 338
      BACKGROUND: Fine tuned balance of reactive oxygen species (ROS) is essential for tumor cells and tumor cells use immune checkpoints to evade attack form immunity system. However, it's unclear whether there is any crosstalk between these two pathways. CYB561D2, an antioxidant protein, is part of 5-gene prognosis signature in gliomas and its involvement in gliomas is unknown. Here, we aim to provide a detailed characterization of CYB561D2 in gliomas.METHODS: CYB561D2 expression was measured in clinical samples of gilomas and normal tissues. The effects of CYB561D2 on immunity related genes and tumor behaviors were investigated in glioma cell lines with various in vitro and in vivo assays.
    RESULTS: CYB561D2 expression was enhanced in gliomas compared to control tissues. CYB561D2 up-regulation was associated with high grading of gliomas and short survival in patients. CYB561D2 expression was induced by H2O2 in glioma cell lines. CYB561D2 and its functional product ascorbate activated STAT3 dose-dependently. CYB561D2 over-expression increased PD-L1, CCL2 and TDO2 expression, and induced immunosuppression in co-cultured T cells. In in vitro assays, CYB561D2 knock-down suppressed cell growth, colony formation, migration and promoted apoptosis. In contrast, CYB561D2 over-expression reduced survival rate in intracranial glioma model and this effect could be blocked by dominant negative-STAT3. The CYB561D2 up-regulation and the positive association of CYB561D2 with PD-L1, CCL2 and TDO2 expression were cross-validated in open-access datasets.
    CONCLUSIONS: CYB561D2 up-regulation induces immunosuppression and aggression via activating STAT3 in gliomas and CYB561D2 mediates ROS-tumor immunity crosstalk.
    Keywords:  CYB561D2; Gliomas; Immune checkpoint; Immunosuppression; ROS; STAT3
  26. Eur J Med Chem. 2021 Aug 02. pii: S0223-5234(21)00585-7. [Epub ahead of print]224 113736
      Pyrazolopyrimidinones are fused nitrogen-containing heterocyclic systems, which act as a core scaffold in many pharmaceutically relevant compounds. Pyrazolopyrimidinones have been demonstrated to be efficient in treating several diseases, including cystic fibrosis, obesity, viral infection and cancer. In this study using glioblastoma U-251MG cell line, we tested the cytotoxic effects of 15 pyrazolopyrimidinones, synthesised via a two-step process, in combination with cold atmospheric plasma (CAP). CAP is an adjustable source of reactive oxygen and nitrogen species as well as other unique chemical and physical effects which has been successfully tested as an innovative cancer therapy in clinical trials. Significantly variable cytotoxicity was observed with IC50 values ranging from around 11 μM to negligible toxicity among tested compounds. Interestingly, two pyrazolopyrimidinones were identified that act in a prodrug fashion and display around 5-15 times enhanced reactive-species dependent cytotoxicity when combined with cold atmospheric plasma. Activation was evident for direct CAP treatment on U-251MG cells loaded with the pyrazolopyrimidinone and indirect CAP treatment of the pyrazolopyrimidinone in media before adding to cells. Our results demonstrated the potential of CAP combined with pyrazolopyrimidinones as a programmable cytotoxic therapy and provide screened scaffolds that can be used for further development of pyrazolopyrimidinone prodrug derivatives.
    Keywords:  Cold atmospheric plasma; Glioblastoma; Pro-drug; Programmable cytotoxicity; Pyrazolopyrimidinone; ROS
  27. Leuk Lymphoma. 2021 Aug 09. 1-11
      Forkhead box M1 (FoxM1) is a transcription factor that plays an important role in the etiology of many cancers, however, its role has not been elucidated in B-precursor acute lymphoblastic leukemia (B-pre-ALL). In the current study, we showed that the downregulation of FoxM1 by its inhibitor thiostrepton inhibited cell viability and induced caspase-dependent apoptosis in a panel of B-pre-ALL cell lines. Thiostrepton led downregulation of FoxM1 accompanied by decreased expression of Aurora kinase A, B, matrix metalloproteinases, and oncogene SKP2 as well as MTH1. Downregulation of the FoxM1/SKP2/MTH1 axis led to increase in the Bax/Bcl2 ratio and suppression of antiapoptotic proteins. Thiostrepton-mediated apoptosis was prevented by N-acetyl cysteine, a scavenger of reactive oxygen species. Co-treatment of B-pre-ALL with subtoxic doses of thiostrepton and bortezomib potentiated the proapoptotic action. Altogether, our results suggest that targeting FoxM1expression could be an attractive strategy for the treatment of B-pre-ALL.
    Keywords:  B-pre-ALL; Bortezomib; FoxM1; MTH1: SKP2; Thiostrepton
  28. ACS Appl Mater Interfaces. 2021 Aug 09.
      Chemodynamic therapy (CDT) is an emerging strategy for cancer treatment based on Fenton chemistry, which can convert endogenous H2O2 into toxic ·OH. However, the limited endocytosis of passive CDT nanoagents with low penetrating capability resulted in unsatisfactory anticancer efficacy. Herein, we propose the successful fabrication of a self-propelled biodegradable nanomotor system based on hollow MnO2 nanoparticles with catalytic activity for active Fenton-like Mn2+ delivery and enhanced CDT. Compared with the passive counterparts, the significantly improved penetration of nanomotors with enhanced diffusion is demonstrated in both the 2D cell culture system and 3D tumor multicellular spheroids. After the intracellular uptake of nanomotors, toxic Fenton-like Mn2+ is massively produced by consuming overexpressed intracellular glutathione (GSH), which has a strong scavenging effect on ·OH, thereby leading to enhanced cancer CDT. The as-developed MnO2-based nanomotor system with enhanced penetration and endogenous GSH scavenging capability shows much promise as a potential platform for cancer treatment in the near future.
    Keywords:  Fenton-like reaction; chemodynamic therapy; manganese dioxide; nanomotors; tumor penetration