Novel fused oxazepino-indoles (FOIs) attenuate liver carcinogenesis via IL-6/JAK2/STAT3 signaling blockade as evidenced through data-based mathematical modeling

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To potentiate the well-documented tumor protecting ability of paullones, literatures demand for rational modifications in paullone ring structure and exploration of a precise mechanism underlying their antitumor effects. Thus, recently we synthesized novel paullone-like scaffold, 5H-benzo [2, 3][1,4]oxazepino[5,6-b]indoles, where compounds 13a and 14a attenuated the growth of liver cancer specific Hep-G2 cells in vitro and formed stable binding complex with IL-6. Henceforth, we hypothesized that this action is probably due to the blockade of IL-6 mediated JAK2/STAT3 signaling cascade.

Main methods:

A preclinical study was conducted using NDEA-induced HCC rat model by oral administration of FOIs at 10 mg/kg dose for 15 days. The molecular insights were confirmed through ELISA, qRT-PCR, western blot analyses. The study was further confirmed by data-based mathematical modeling using the quantitative data obtained from western blot analysis. 1H NMR based metabolomics study was also performed to unveil metabolite discriminations among various studied groups.

Key findings:

We identified that the HCC condition was produced due to the IL-6 induced activation of JAK2 and STAT3 which, in turn, was due to enhanced phosphorylation of JAK2 and STAT3. The treatment with FOIs led to the significant blockade of the IL-6 mediated JAK2/STAT3 signaling pathway. Besides, FOIs showed their potential ability in restoring perturbed metabolites linked to HCC. In particular, the anticancer efficacy of compound 13a was comparable or somewhat better than marketed chemotherapeutics, 5-flurouracil.


These findings altogether opened up possibilities of developing fused oxazepino-indoles (FOIs) as new candidate molecule for plausible alternative of paullones to treat liver cancer.

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