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Mol Cell Endocrinol. 2011 May 16;338(1-2):68-78. doi: 10.1016/j.mce.2011.03.012. Epub 2011 Mar 30.

Specific targeting of insulin-like growth factor 1 receptor signaling in human estrogen dependent breast cancer cell by a novel tyrosine-based benzoxazepine derivative.

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Division of Endocrinology, Central Drug Research Institute (Council of Scientific and Industrial Research), Lucknow, India.


The present study sought to investigate the in vitro and in vivo effects of a tyrosine-based benzoxazepine, 4-[4-(toluene-4-sulfonyl)-2,3,4,5-tetrahydro-benzo[f][1,4]oxazepin-3-ylmethyl]-phenol) [THBP] in human breast cancer cells, with a focus on determining its molecular target. THBP had growth inhibitory effect on MCF-7 and MDA-MD-231 cells. At IC(50) value (∼20 μM), THBP resulted in G1 arrest, decrease in cyclin D1 levels and induction of apoptosis of MCF-7 cells. Mechanistically, activation of caspase 8 contributes critically to the induction of apoptotic cell death as copresence of selective inhibition of caspase 8 effectively abrogates the cytotoxic effect of THBP in MCF-7 cells. Further, THBP increased pro-apoptotic protein, Bax; decreased anti-apoptotic protein, Bcl-2; and decreased mitochondrial membrane potential in MCF-7 cells, indicating involvement of an intrinsic pathway of apoptosis following caspase 8 activation. Out of the various growth factors/hormones, THBP selectively abrogated increased viability of MCF-7 cells by insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1). Molecular docking studies revealed that THBP occupied the ATP binding pocket of IGF-1 receptor (IGF-1R). Accordingly THBP was found to inhibit IGF-1-induced phosphorylation of IGF-1R and insulin receptor substrate-1 (IRS-1) without inhibiting insulin signaling in MCF-7 cells. In athymic nude mice, compared with vehicle, THBP treatment significantly reduced the growth of MCF-7 xenograft tumors through inhibition of cancer cell proliferation as well as promotion of cell death that correlated with reduced phospho-IGF-1R levels. We suggest that interfering with the IGF-1R signaling by the benzoxazepine THBP offers a novel and selective therapeutic strategy for estrogen receptor-positive, postmenopausal breast cancer patients.

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