Identification of anti-malarial compounds as novel antagonists to chemokine receptor CXCR4 in pancreatic cancer cells.
Authors: Kim J,Yip ML,Shen X,Li H,Hsin LY,Labarge S,Heinrich EL,Lee W,Lu J,Vaidehi N,
Address: Department of Surgery, City of Hope, Duarte, California, United States of America. firstname.lastname@example.org
Journal: PLoS One.
Publication: 2012;7(2):e31004. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0031004. Epub 2012 Feb 3.
Despite recent advances in targeted therapies, patients with pancreatic adenocarcinoma continue to have poor survival highlighting the urgency to identify novel therapeutic targets. Our previous investigations have implicated chemokine receptor CXCR4 and its selective ligand CXCL12 in the pathogenesis and progression of pancreatic intraepithelial neoplasia and invasive pancreatic cancer; hence, CXCR4 is a promising target for suppression of pancreatic cancer growth. Here, we combined in silico structural modeling of CXCR4 to screen for candidate anti-CXCR4 compounds with in vitro cell line assays and identified NSC56612 from the National Cancer Institute's (NCI) Open Chemical Repository Collection as an inhibitor of activated CXCR4. Next, we identified that NSC56612 is structurally similar to the established anti-malarial drugs chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine. We evaluated these compounds in pancreatic cancer cells in vitro and observed specific antagonism of CXCR4-mediated signaling and cell proliferation. Recent in vivo therapeutic applications of chloroquine in pancreatic cancer mouse models have demonstrated decreased tumor growth and improved survival. Our results thus provide a molecular target and basis for further evaluation of chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine in pancreatic cancer. Historically safe in humans, chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine appear to be promising agents to safely and effectively target CXCR4 in patients with pancreatic cancer.
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