Repurposing the anti-malarial drug artesunate as a novel therapeutic agent for metastatic renal cell carcinoma due to its attenuation of tumor growth, metastasis, and angiogenesis
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Da Eun Jeong1,*, Hye Jin Song2,*, Sharon Lim3, Se Jeong Lee4, Joung Eun Lim5, Do-Hyun Nam1,4,6, Kyeung Min Joo1,2, Byong Chang Jeong5, Seong Soo Jeon5, Han Yong Choi5, Hye Won Lee4,7
1Department of Health Sciences and Technology, SAIHST, Sungkyunkwan University, Seoul, Korea
2Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology, Samsung Medical Center, Sungkyunkwan University School of Medicine, Seoul, Korea
3Department of Pathology and Translational Genomics, Samsung Medical Center, Sungkyunkwan University School of Medicine, Seoul, Korea
4Institute for Refractory Cancer Research, Samsung Medical Center, Sungkyunkwan University School of Medicine, Seoul, Korea
5Department of Urology, Samsung Medical Center, Sungkyunkwan University School of Medicine, Seoul, Korea
6Department of Neurosurgery, Samsung Medical Center, Sungkyunkwan University School of Medicine, Seoul, Korea
7Research Institute for Future Medicine, Samsung Medical Center, Sungkyunkwan University School of Medicine, Seoul, Korea
*These authors have contributed equally to this work
Hye Won Lee, e-mail: email@example.com
Han Yong Choi, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Keywords: renal cell carcinoma, metastasis, artesunate, oncosis, drug repurposing
Received: June 07, 2015 Accepted: September 16, 2015 Published: September 28, 2015
Despite advances in the development of molecularly targeted therapies, metastatic renal cell carcinoma (RCC) is still incurable. Artesunate (ART), a well-known anti-malarial drug with low toxicity, exhibits highly selective anti-tumor actions against various tumors through generation of cytotoxic carbon-centered free radical in the presence of free iron. However, the therapeutic efficacy of ART against metastatic RCC has not yet been fully elucidated. In the analysis on a dataset from The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) (n = 469) and a tissue microarray set from Samsung Medical Center (n = 119) from a cohort of patients with clear cell RCC (ccRCC), up-regulation of transferrin receptor 1 (TfR1), which is a well-known predictive marker for ART, was correlated with the presence of distant metastasis and an unfavorable prognosis. Moreover, ART exerted potent selective cytotoxicity against human RCC cell lines (Caki-1, 786-O, and SN12C-GFP-SRLu2) and sensitized these cells to sorafenib in vitro, and the extent of ART cytotoxicity correlated with TfR1 expression. ART-mediated growth inhibition of human RCC cell lines was shown to result from the induction of cell cycle arrest at the G2/M phase and oncosis-like cell death. Furthermore, ART inhibited cell clonogenicity and invasion of human RCC cells and anti-angiogenic effects in vitro in a dose-dependent manner. Consistent with these in vitro data, anti-tumor, anti-metastatic and anti-angiogenic effects of ART were also validated in human 786-O xenografts. Taken together, ART is a promising novel candidate for treating human RCC, either alone or in combination with other therapies.
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