PDA-66 hinders proliferation of human progenitor and cancer cells by destabilising microtubules, leading to mitotic arrest and apoptosis. Thus indolylmaleimides provide a class of indoles to be used as anti-mitotic drugs.
Indolylmaleimides display a broad spectrum of biological activity and offer great opportunity to influence several aspects of cell fate, as proliferation and differentiation. In this study we describe the effect of PDA-66, a newly synthesised indolylmaleimide, showing a strong dose dependent anti-proliferative effect on immortalised human progenitor and cancer cells. We demonstrated a highly depolymerizing effect on in vitro tubulin assembly and conclude that PDA-66 acts as microtubule destabilising agent. In addition we found that PDA-66 induces mitotic arrest of cells in the G2/M phase of the cell cycle. Subsequently cells undergo apoptosis, indicating the major mechanism of the anti-proliferative effect. To prove a potential anti-cancer activity of PDA-66 we examined the effect of PDA-66 on human SH-SY5Y neuroblastoma and A-459 lung cancer cells, showing a significant reduction in cancer cell proliferation in a dose dependent manner. Thus PDA-66 is a new anti-mitotic compound with an indole-core with the potential to be used for cancer therapy.