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Am J Cancer Res. 2019 Dec 1;9(12):2789-2796. eCollection 2019.

RV-59 suppresses cytoplasmic Nrf2-mediated 5-fluorouracil resistance and tumor growth in colorectal cancer.

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Department of Gynecology and Obstetrics, Kaohsiung Medical University Hospital, College of Medicine, Kaohsiung Medical University Kaohsiung, Taiwan.
Ph. D. for Cancer Molecular Biology and Drug Discovery, College of Medical Science and Technology, Taipei Medical University and Academia Sinica Taipei, Taiwan.
Translational Cancer Research Center, Taipei Medical University Taipei, Taiwan.
Department of R and D Calgent Biochnology CO, LTD Taipei, Taiwan.


Our previous studies indicated that tumor invasion and 5-flurouracil (5-FU) resistance in colorectal cancer (CRC) was more affected by cytoplasmic localization of expressed Nrf2 (cNrf2) than by nuclear localization (nNrf2), indicating a need for novel antitumor agents to overcome 5-FU resistance and improve outcomes in patients with CRC. In the present study, 20 nitrogen-substituted anthra[1,2-c][1,2,5] thiadiazole-6,11-dione derivatives were collected to verify the compound most able to suppress cell growth in nuclear location sequence (NLS)-mutated Nrf2-transfected shNrf2-HCT116 stable clones that have high cNrf2 expression. The MTT assay indicated that these high-cNrf2-expressing shNrf2-HCT116 stable clones exhibited the lowest percentage survival when treated with RV-59 than with the other 19 compounds. As expected, the high-cNrf2-expressing cells also showed a higher value for the inhibitory concentration of 50% cell survival (IC50) for 5-FU when compared with Nrf2-knockdown HCT116 stable clones (17.74 μM vs. 5.34 μM). Interestingly, a lower RV-59 IC50 value was seen in the high-cNrf2-expressing stable clones than in the Nrf2-knockdown stable clones (3.55 μM vs. 16.81 μM). A similar low RV-59 IC50 value was observed in high-cNrf2-expressing NLS-mutated Nrf2-transfected shNrf2-HCT116 stable clones and p53 null (-/-) HCT116 cells (4.2 μM vs. 4.4 μM), whereas the IC50 value was 17.6 μM in normal colon FHC epithelial cells. Colony-forming assays confirmed that RV-59 treatment inhibited colony formation in NLS-mutated Nrf2-transfected shNrf2-HCT116 stable clones and in p53-/- HCT116 cells. Annexin-V/PI staining showed an involvement of apoptosis in the inhibitory effect of RV-59 on cell viability. A nude mouse xenograft tumor model showed that RV-59 efficiently suppressed tumor growth induced by transplanted NLS-mutated Nrf2-transfected shNrf2-HCT116 stable clones without affecting the body weight of the nude mice over the 37 day experimental period. These results strongly suggest that RV-59 may be a novel antitumor agent for suppression of 5-FU resistance and may have therapeutic potential for improving outcomes in patients with cNrf2-expressing tumors.


5-fluorouracil; Nrf2; and colorectal cancer


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