Induction of apoptosis and suppression of ERCC1 expression by the potent amonafide analogue 8-c in human colorectal carcinoma cells

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Previous studies have reported that 8-c [6-(2-(2-(dimethylamino)ethylamino)ethylamino)-2-octyl-1H-benzo[de]isoquinoline-1,3(2H)-dione], a novel amonafide analogue, was generated as a new anticancer candidate. However, little is known about its activity in chemoresistant cells. In this study, the antitumor effects of 8-c on the multi-drug-resistant human colorectal carcinoma cancer cell lines HCT-116/L-OHP and HCT-8/VCR have been investigated for the first time. 8-c showed similar concentration-dependent inhibitory activities against multi-drug-resistant cells and corresponding parental cell lines by the MTT assay after 48 h of treatment. 8-c treatment resulted in the induction of apoptosis, as evidenced by fluorescent staining analysis, comet assay data, and the increase in the number of apoptotic cells as detected by flow cytometry. Western blot, qPCR, and siRNA techniques were used to elucidate the molecular mechanism. Our study suggested that the apoptotic effect of 8-c can be attributed to the upregulation of p53, caspase-3, and cleaved poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase (PARP) and the downregulation of Bcl-2. Furthermore, ERCC1 is essential for nucleotide excision repair. ERCC1 expression was correlated with sensitivity to chemotherapy in various colon cancer cell lines. It is intriguing that decreases in ERCC1 protein and mRNA levels were also observed in the HCT-116/L-OHP and HCT-8/VCR cells after exposure to 8-c. Further transient transfection of multi-drug-resistant cells with ERCC1 siRNA enhanced 8-c-induced cytotoxicity. In contrast, epidermal growth factor-induced increase in ERCC1 protein levels was shown to rescue cell viability upon 8-c treatment. These findings suggest that 8-c has a strong potential to be developed as a new antitumor agent for the treatment of multi-drug-resistant colon cancer cells, and is worthy of further studies.

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