The novel DNA alkylating agent BO-1090 suppresses the growth of human oral cavity cancer in xenografted and orthotopic mouse models

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Oral cancer is the fourth-most common cause of death in males and overall the sixth-most common cause of cancer death in Taiwan. Surgery, radiotherapy and chemotherapy combined with other therapies are the most common treatments for oral cavity cancer. Although cisplatin, 5-fluorouracil and docetaxel are commonly used clinically, there is no drug specific for oral cavity cancer. Here, we demonstrated that derivatives of 3a-aza-cyclopenta[a]indene, a class of newly synthesized alkylating agents, may be drugs more specific for oral cancer based on its potentin vitrocytotoxicity to oral cancer cells and onin vivoxenografts. Among them, BO-1090, bis(hydroxymethyl)-3a-aza-cyclopenta[a]indene derivative, targeted DNA for its cytotoxic effects as shown by inhibition of DNA synthesis (bromodeoxyuridine-based DNA synthesis assay), induction of DNA crosslinking (alkaline gel shift assay), and induction of DNA single-stranded breaks (Comet assay) and double-stranded breaks (γ-H2AX focus formation). Following DNA damage, BO-1090 induced G1/S-phase arrest and apoptosis in oral cancer cell lines. The therapeutic potential of BO-1090 was tested in mice that received a xenograft of oral cavity cancer cell lines (SAS or Cal 27 cells). Intravenous injection of BO-1090 significantly suppressed tumor growth in comparison to control mice. BO-1090 also significantly reduced the tumor burden in orthotopic mouse models using SAS cells. There was no significant adverse effect of BO-1090 treatment with this dosage based on whole blood count, biochemical enzyme profiles in plasma and histopathology of various organs in mouse. Taken together, our current results demonstrate that B0-1090 may have potential as a treatment for oral cavity cancer.

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