FNC, a novel nucleoside analogue inhibits cell proliferation and tumor growth in a variety of human cancer cells

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Inhibition of cellular DNA synthesis is a strategy to block cancer cell division. Nucleoside analogues can incorporate into DNA and terminate DNA strand elongation. So far, several nucleoside analogues have been successfully used as anticancer drugs. FNC, 2′-deoxy-2′-β-fluoro-4′-azidocytidine is a novel cytidine analogue which demonstrated potent activity against hepatitis C virus (HCV). To investigate the therapeutic potential of FNC in human cancers we studied its activity in a number of cancer cells in vitro and in vivo. FNC potently inhibited cell proliferation with an IC50 of 0.95–4.55 μM in a variety of aggressive human cancer cell lines including B-cell non-Hodgkin's lymphomas, lung adenocarcinoma and acute myeloid leukemia. Cells treated with FNC exhibited G1 and S cell cycle arrest at high and low dose, respectively, which confirms the mechanism of action of nucleoside analogues. Treatment of B-NHL cell lines with FNC induced apoptosis in a dose and time dependent manner. Finally, mouse xenograft models of hepatocarcinoma (H22), sarcoma (S180) and gastric carcinoma (SGC7901) demonstrated that FNC had significant tumor growth inhibition activity in a dose-dependent manner with low toxicity. Together, our results suggest that FNC may be a valuable therapy in cancer patients and warrant early phase clinical trial evaluation.

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