Novel sorafenib analogues induce apoptosis through SHP-1 dependent STAT3 inactivation in human breast cancer cells

Chun-Yu Liu, Ling-Ming Tseng, Jung-Chen Su, Kung-Chi Chang, Pei-Yi Chu, Wei-Tien Tai, Chung-Wai Shiau, Kuen-Feng Chen
Breast Cancer Research: BCR 2013, 15 (4): R63

INTRODUCTION: Signal transducers and activators of transcription 3 (STAT3) signaling is constitutively activated in various cancers including breast cancer and has emerged as a novel potential anti-cancer target. STAT3 has been demonstrated to be a target of sorafenib, and a protein tyrosine phosphatase Src homology 2-domain containing tyrosine phosphatase 1 (SHP-1) has been demonstrated to downregulate p-STAT3 via its phosphatase activity. Here, we tested the efficacy of two sorafenib analogues, SC-1 and SC-43, in breast cancer cells and examined the drug mechanism.

METHODS: Breast cancer cell lines were used for in vitro studies. Cell viability was examined by the 3-(4,5-dimethylthiazol-2-yl)-2,5-diphenyltetrazolium bromide (MTT) assay. Apoptosis was examined by flow cytometry and western blot. Signal transduction pathways in cells were assessed by western blot. In vivo efficacy of sorafenib, SC-1 and SC-43 was tested in xenografted nude mice.

RESULTS: SC-1 and SC-43 induced more potent apoptosis than sorafenib, in association with downregulation of p-STAT3 and its downstream proteins cyclin D1 and survivin in a dose-dependent manner in breast cancer cell lines (HCC-1937, MDA-MB-468, MDA-MB-231, MDA-MB-453, SK-BR3, MCF-7). Overexpression of STAT3 in MDA-MB-468 cells protected the cells from apoptosis induced by sorafenib, SC-1 and SC-43. Moreover, SC-1 and SC-43 upregulated SHP-1 activity to a greater extent than sorafenib as measured by in vitro phosphatase assays. Knockdown of SHP-1 by siRNA reduced apoptosis induced by SC-1 and SC-43. Importantly, SC-1 and SC-43 showed more efficacious antitumor activity and p-STAT3 downregulation than sorafenib in MDA-MB-468 xenograft tumors.

CONCLUSIONS: Novel sorafenib analogues SC-1 and SC-43 induce apoptosis through SHP-1 dependent STAT3 inactivation and demonstrate greater potency than sorafenib in human breast cancer cells.

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