Phenylmethimazole and a thiazole derivative of phenylmethimazole inhibit IL-6 expression by triple negative breast cancer cells

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Abstract

Inhibition of interleukin–6 (IL-6) holds significant promise as a therapeutic approach for triple negative breast cancer (TNBC). We previously reported that phenylmethimazole (C10) reduces IL-6 expression in several cancer cell lines. We have identified a more potent derivative of C10 termed COB-141. In the present work, we tested the hypothesis that C10 and COB-141 inhibit TNBC cell expressed IL-6 and investigated the potential for classical IL-6 pathway induced signaling within TNBC cells. A panel of TNBC cell lines (MDA-MB-231, Hs578T, MDA-MB-468) was used. Enzyme linked immunosorbent assays (ELISA) revealed that C10 and COB-141 inhibit MDA-MB-231 cell IL-6 secretion, with COB-141 being ˜6.5 times more potent than C10. Therefore, the remainder of the study focused on COB-141 which inhibited IL-6 secretion, and was found, via quantitative real time polymerase chain reaction (QRT-PCR), to inhibit IL-6 mRNA in the TNBC panel. COB-141 had little, if any, effect on metabolic activity indicating that the IL-6 inhibition is not via a toxic effect. Flow cytometric analysis and QRT-PCR revealed that the TNBC cell lines do not express the IL-6 receptor (IL-6Rα). Trans-AM assays suggested that COB-141 exerts its inhibitory effect, at least in part, by reducing NF-κB (p65/p50) DNA binding. In summary, COB-141 is a potent inhibitor of TNBC cell expressed IL-6 and the inhibition does not appear to be due to non-specific toxicity. The TNBC cell lines do not have an intact classical IL-6 signaling pathway. COB-141's inhibitory effect may be due, at least in part, to reducing NF-κB (p65/p50) DNA binding.

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