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PLoS One. 2008;3(12):e3951. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0003951. Epub 2008 Dec 16.

Pyrvinium targets the unfolded protein response to hypoglycemia and its anti-tumor activity is enhanced by combination therapy.

Author information

  • 1iTherX Pharmaceuticals, Inc., San Diego, California, United States of America. yu@itherx.com

Abstract

We identified pyrvinium pamoate, an old anthelminthic medicine, which preferentially inhibits anchorage-independent growth of cancer cells over anchorage-dependent growth (approximately 10 fold). It was also reported by others to have anti-tumor activity in vivo and selective toxicity against cancer cells under glucose starvation in vitro, but with unknown mechanism. Here, we provide evidence that pyrvinium suppresses the transcriptional activation of GRP78 and GRP94 induced by glucose deprivation or 2-deoxyglucose (2DG, a glycolysis inhibitor), but not by tunicamycin or A23187. Other UPR pathways induced by glucose starvation, e.g. XBP-1, ATF4, were also found suppressed by pyrvinium. Constitutive expression of GRP78 via transgene partially protected cells from pyrvinium induced cell death under glucose starvation, suggesting that suppression of the UPR is involved in pyrvinium mediated cytotoxicity under glucose starvation. Xenograft experiments showed rather marginal overall anti-tumor activity for pyrvinium as a monotherapy. However, the combination of pyrvinium and Doxorubicin demonstrated significantly enhanced efficacy in vivo, supporting a mechanistic treatment concept based on tumor hypoglycemia and UPR.

PMID:
19079611
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC2597738
Free PMC Article

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