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Cancer Res. 2004 Sep 15;64(18):6603-9.

G-quartet oligonucleotides: a new class of signal transducer and activator of transcription 3 inhibitors that suppresses growth of prostate and breast tumors through induction of apoptosis.

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  • 1Department of Medicine, Section of Infectious Diseases, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, TX, USA.


Stat3 is a signaling molecular and oncogene activated frequently in many human malignancies including the majority of prostate, breast, and head and neck cancers; yet, no current chemotherapeutic approach has been implemented clinically that specifically targets Stat3. We recently developed G-rich oligodeoxynucleotides, which form intramolecular G-quartet structures (GQ-ODN), as a new class of Stat3 inhibitor. GQ-ODN targeted Stat3 protein directly inhibiting its ability to bind DNA. When delivered into cells using polyethyleneimine as vehicle, GQ-ODN blocked ligand-induced Stat3 activation and Stat3-mediated transcription of antiapoptotic genes. To establish the effectiveness of GQ-ODN as a potential new chemotherapeutic agent, we systemically administered GQ-ODN (T40214 or T40231) plus polyethyleneimine or polyethyleneimine alone (placebo) by tail-vein injection into nude mice with prostate and breast tumor xenografts. Whereas the mean volume of breast tumor xenografts in placebo-treated mice increased >7-fold over 18 days, xenografts in the GQ-ODN-treated mice remained unchanged. Similarly, whereas the mean volume of prostate tumor xenografts in placebo-treated mice increased 9-fold over 10 days, xenografts in GQ-ODN-treated mice increased by only 2-fold. Biochemical examination of tumors from GQ-ODN-treated mice demonstrated a significant reduction in Stat3 activation, levels of the antiapoptotic proteins Bcl-2 and Bcl-xL, and an 8-fold increase in the number of apoptotic cells compared with the tumors of placebo-treated mice. Thus, GQ-ODN targeting Stat3 induces tumor cell apoptosis when delivered into tumor xenografts and represents a novel class of chemotherapeutic agents that holds promise for the systemic treatment of many forms of metastatic cancer.

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