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Cancer Biol Ther. 2011 Nov 1;12(9):837-45. doi: 10.4161/cbt.12.9.17713. Epub 2011 Nov 1.

HO-3867, a curcumin analog, sensitizes cisplatin-resistant ovarian carcinoma, leading to therapeutic synergy through STAT3 inhibition.

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Department of Internal Medicine and Comprehensive Cancer Center, The Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio, USA.


Cisplatin resistance is a major obstacle in the treatment of ovarian cancer. Drug combinations with synergistic or complementary functions are a promising strategy to overcome this issue. We studied the anticancer efficacy of a novel compound, HO-3867, used in combination with cisplatin against chemotherapy-resistant ovarian cancer. A2780R cells, a cisplatin-resistant human ovarian cancer cell line, were exposed to 1, 5, or 10 uM of HO-3867 alone or in combination with cisplatin (10 ug/ml) for 24 hours. Cell viability (MTT), proliferation (BrdU), cell-cycle analysis (FACS), and protein expression (western blot) were used for in vitro studies. STAT3 overexpression was performed using transfected STAT3 cDNA. In vivo studies used cisplatin-resistant xenograft tumors grown in nude mice and treated with 100-ppm HO-3867 and weekly injections of 4-mg/kg cisplatin. HO-3867/cisplatin combination treatment significantly inhibited cisplatin-resistant cell proliferation in a concentration-dependent manner. The inhibition was associated with increased expression of p53 and p21, and decreased expression of cdk5 and cyclin D1. Apoptosis was induced by activation of Bax, cytochrome c release, and stimulated cleavage of caspase-9, caspase-3, and PARP. Overexpression of STAT3 decreased the HO-3867-induced apoptosis. The combination treatment significantly inhibited the growth of cisplatin-resistant xenograft tumors with significant downregulation of pSTAT3, and without apparent toxicity to healthy tissues. The combination treatment exhibited synergistic anticancer efficacy, which appears largely due to HO-3867-induced downregulation of pSTAT3. The results, combined with the previously-reported safety features of HO-3867, suggest the potential use of this compound as a safe and effective adjuvant for the treatment of ovarian cancer.

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