The overexpression ofCPRandP450 3A4in pancreatic cancer cells changes the metabolic profile and increases the cytotoxicity and pro-apoptotic activity of acridine antitumor agent, C-1748

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Drug resistance is one of the major causes of pancreatic cancer treatment failure. Thus, it is still imperative to develop new active compounds and novel approach to improve drug efficacy. Here we present 9-amino-1-nitroacridine antitumor agent, C-1748, developed in our laboratory, as a candidate for pancreatic cancer treatment. We examined (i) the cellular response of pancreatic cancer cell lines: Panc-1, MiaPaCa-2, BxPC-3 and AsPC-1, differing in expression levels of commonly mutated genes for this cancer type, to C-1748 treatment and (ii) the role of P450 3A4 isoenzyme and cytochrome P450 reductase (CPR) in the modulation of this response. C-1748 exhibited the highest cytotoxic activity against MiaPaCa-2, while AsPC-1 cells were the most resistant (IC50: 0.015, 0.075 μM, respectively). A considerable amount of apoptosis was detected in Panc-1 and MiaPaCa-2 cells but only limited apoptosis was observed in AsPC-1 and BxPC-3 cells as indicated by morphological changes and biochemical markers. Furthermore, only AsPC-1 cells underwent senescence. Since AsPC-1 cells were the most resistant to C-1748 as evidenced by the lowest P450 3A4 and CPR protein levels, this cell line was subjected to transient transfection either with P450 3A4 or CPR gene. The overexpression of P450 3A4 or CPR changed the pro-apoptotic activity of C-1748 and sensitized AsPC-1 cells to this drug compared to wild-type cells. However, metabolism was changed significantly only for CPR overexpressing cells. In conclusion, the antitumor effectiveness of C-1748 would be improved by multi-drug therapy with chemotherapeutics, that are able to induce P450 3A4 and/or CPR gene expression.

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