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J Pharmacol Exp Ther. 2004 Apr;309(1):64-70. Epub 2004 Jan 12.

NAD(P)H:quinone oxidoreductase-1-dependent and -independent cytotoxicity of potent quinone Cdc25 phosphatase inhibitors.

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Department of Pharmacology, Hillman Cancer Center, University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute, 5117 Centre Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15213, USA.


Cdc25 dual-specificity phosphatases coordinate cell cycle progression and cellular signaling. Consequently, Cdc25 inhibitors represent potential anticancer agents. We evaluated >10,000 compounds for inhibition of human Cdc25 phosphatases and identified many potent and selective inhibitors, which all contained a quinone. Bioreductive enzymes frequently detoxify or activate quinones. Therefore, we evaluated the effect of NAD(P)H:quinone oxidoreductase-1 (NQO1) and reductase-rich microsomes on the activity of three quinone-containing Cdc25 inhibitors: 2-(2-hydroxyethylsulfanyl)-3-methyl-1,4-naphthoquinone (Cpd 5, compound 5; NSC 672121), 2,3-bis-(2-hydroxyethylsulfanyl)-1,4-naphthoquinone (NSC 95397), and 6-chloro-7-(2-morpholin-4-yl-ethylamino)quinoline-5,8-dione (NSC 663284). Each inhibitor was reduced by human NQO1 (K(m) of 0.3-0.5 microM) but none by microsomes. Compounds were evaluated with six cancer cell lines containing different amounts of NQO1: HT-29 (1056 nmol/mg/min), HCT116 (660 nmol/mg/min), sublines HCT116-R30A (28 nmol/mg/min) and HCT-116R30A/NQ5 (934 nmol/mg/min), MDA-MB-231/Q2 (null NQO1), and subline MDA-MB-231/Q6 (124 nmol/mg/min) but containing similar amounts of microsomal cytochrome P450 reductase and cytochrome b(5) reductase. Growth inhibition and G2/M arrest by Cpd 5 was proportional to NQO1 levels, requiring 4- to 5-fold more Cpd 5 to inhibit HCT-116 or HCT-116R30A/NQ5 compared with HCT-116R30A. In contrast, in all tested cell lines irrespective of NQO1 level, growth inhibition and G2/M arrest by NSC 95375 and NSC 663284 were similar (average IC(50) of 1.3 +/- 0.3 and 2.6 +/- 0.4 microM, respectively). NSC 95375 and NSC 663284 also caused similar Cdk1 hyperphosphorylation, indicating similar Cdc25 inhibition. However, lower Cpd 5 concentrations were needed to produce Cdk1 hyperphosphorylation in sublines with minimal NQO1. Thus, NQO1 detoxified Cpd 5, probably by reducing it to a less active hydroquinone, whereas NSC 95397- and NSC 663284-generated cytotoxicity was unaffected by NQO1.

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