• Aldehyde Dehydrogenases and Prostate Cancer: Shedding Light on Isoform Distribution to Reveal Druggable Target

      Quattrini, L.; Sadiq, Maria; Petrarolo, G.; Maitland, N.J.; Frame, F.M.; Pors, Klaus; La Motta, C. (2020-12-04)
      Prostate cancer represents the most common malignancy diagnosed in men, and is the second-leading cause of cancer death in this population. In spite of dedicated efforts, the current therapies are rarely curative, requiring the development of novel approaches based on innovative molecular targets. In this work, we validated aldehyde dehydrogenase 1A1 and 1A3 isoform expressions in different prostatic tissue-derived cell lines (normal, benign and malignant) and patient-derived primary prostate tumor epithelial cells, demonstrating their potential for therapeutic intervention using a small library of aldehyde dehydrogenase inhibitors. Compound 3b, 6-(4-fluorophenyl)-2-phenylimidazo [1,2-a]pyridine exhibited not only antiproliferative activity in the nanomolar range against the P4E6 cell line, derived from localized prostate cancer, and PC3 cell lines, derived from prostate cancer bone metastasis, but also inhibitory efficacy against PC3 colony-forming efficiency. Considering its concomitant reduced activity against normal prostate cells, 3b has the potential as a lead compound to treat prostate cancer by means of a still untapped molecular target.
    • Expansion of the 4-(Diethylamino)benzaldehyde Scaffold to Explore the Impact on Aldehyde Dehydrogenase Activity and Antiproliferative Activity in Prostate Cancer

      Ibrahim, Ali I.M.; Battle, Elisabet; Sneha, Smarakan; Jimenez, R.; Pequerul, R.; Pares, X.; Rüngeler, T.; Jha, V.; Tuccinardi, T.; Sadiq, Maria; et al. (2022-03-10)
      Aldehyde dehydrogenases (ALDHs) are overexpressed in various tumor types including prostate cancer and considered a potential target for therapeutic intervention. 4-(Diethylamino)benzaldehyde (DEAB) has been extensively reported as a pan-inhibitor of ALDH isoforms, and here, we report on the synthesis, ALDH isoform selectivity, and cellular potencies in prostate cancer cells of 40 DEAB analogues; three analogues (14, 15, and 16) showed potent inhibitory activity against ALDH1A3, and two analogues (18 and 19) showed potent inhibitory activity against ALDH3A1. Significantly, 16 analogues displayed increased cytotoxicity (IC50 = 10-200 μM) compared with DEAB (>200 μM) against three different prostate cancer cell lines. Analogues 14 and 18 were more potent than DEAB against patient-derived primary prostate tumor epithelial cells, as single agents or in combination treatment with docetaxel. In conclusion, our study supports the use of DEAB as an ALDH inhibitor but also reveals closely related analogues with increased selectivity and potency.
    • Hydroxytriazole derivatives as potent and selective aldo-keto reductase 1C3 (AKR1C3) inhibitors discovered by bioisosteric scaffold hopping approach

      Pippione, A.C.; Giraudo, A.; Bonanni, D.; Carnovale, I.M.; Marini, E.; Cena, C.; Costale, A.; Zonari, D.; Pors, Klaus; Sadiq, Maria; et al. (2017-10-20)
      The aldo-keto reductase 1C3 isoform (AKR1C3) plays a vital role in the biosynthesis of androgens, making this enzyme an attractive target for castration-resistant prostate cancer therapy. Although AKR1C3 is a promising drug target, no AKR1C3-targeted agent has to date been approved for clinical use. Flufenamic acid, a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug, is known to potently inhibit AKR1C3 in a non-selective manner as COX off-target effects are also observed. To diminish off-target effects, we have applied a scaffold hopping strategy replacing the benzoic acid moiety of flufenamic acid with an acidic hydroxyazolecarbonylic scaffold. In particular, differently N-substituted hydroxylated triazoles were designed to simultaneously interact with both subpockets 1 and 2 in the active site of AKR1C3, larger for AKR1C3 than other AKR1Cs isoforms. Through computational design and iterative rounds of synthesis and biological evaluation, novel compounds are reported, sharing high selectivity (up to 230-fold) for AKR1C3 over 1C2 isoform and minimal COX1 and COX2 off-target inhibition. A docking study of compound 8, the most interesting compound of the series, suggested that its methoxybenzyl substitution has the ability to fit inside subpocket 2, being involved in π-π staking interaction with Trp227 (partial overlapping) and in a T-shape π-π staking with Trp86. This compound was also shown to diminish testosterone production in the AKR1C3-expressing 22RV1 prostate cancer cell line while synergistic effect was observed when 8 was administered in combination with abiraterone or enzalutamide.
    • Hypoxia modulates the activity of a series of clinically approved tyrosine kinase inhibitors

      Ahmadi, M.; Ahmadihosseini, Z.; Allison, Simon J.; Begum, S.; Rockley, K.; Sadiq, Maria; Chintamaneni, S.; Lokwani, R.; Hughes, N.; Phillips, Roger M. (2014)
      BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: Hypoxia in tumours is known to cause resistance to conventional chemotherapeutic drugs. In contrast, little is known about the effects of hypoxia on targeted anti-cancer drugs. This study evaluated the effect of hypoxia on a series of clinically approved tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKIs). EXPERIMENTAL APPROACH: The effect of hypoxia (0.1% oxygen) on the activity of conventional cytotoxic drugs (5-fluorouracil, doxorubicin and vinblastine), the hypoxia-activated prodrug tirapazamine and 9 TKIs was determined in a panel of cell lines. Where hypoxia had a marked effect on chemosensitivity, Western blot analysis was conducted to determine the effect of hypoxia on target expression and the effect of TKIs on cell signalling response under aerobic and hypoxic conditions. KEY RESULTS: Three patterns of chemosensitivity were observed: resistance under hypoxia, equitoxic activity against hypoxic and aerobic cells, and preferential cytotoxicity to hypoxic cells. Significant hypoxia selectivity (independent of HIF1) was observed in the case of dasatinib and this correlated with the ability of dasatinib to inhibit phosphorylation of Src at tyrosine 530. Sorafenib was significantly less effective under hypoxic conditions but resistance did not correlate with hypoxia-induced changes in Raf/MEK/ERK signalling. CONCLUSIONS AND IMPLICATIONS: Hypoxia influences the activity of TKIs but in contrast to conventional cytotoxic drugs, preferential activity against hypoxic cells can occur. The search for hypoxia-targeted therapies has been long and fruitless and this study suggests that some clinically approved TKIs could preferentially target the hypoxic fraction of some tumour types.
    • Polysialic acid sustains cancer cell survival and migratory capacity in a hypoxic environment

      Elkashef, Sara M.; Allison, Simon J.; Sadiq, Maria; Basheer, Haneen A.; Ribeiro Morais, Goreti; Loadman, Paul M.; Pors, Klaus; Falconer, Robert A. (2016-09)
      Polysialic acid (polySia) is a unique carbohydrate polymer expressed on the surface of NCAM (neuronal cell adhesion molecule) in a number of cancers where it modulates cell-cell and cell-matrix adhesion, migration, invasion and metastasis and is strongly associated with poor clinical prognosis. We have carried out the first investigation into the effect of polySia expression on the behaviour of cancer cells in hypoxia, a key source of chemoresistance in tumours. The role of polysialylation and associated tumour cell migration and cell adhesion were studied in hypoxia, along with effects on cell survival and the potential role of HIF-1. Our findings provide the first evidence that polySia expression sustains migratory capacity and is associated with tumour cell survival in hypoxia. Initial mechanistic studies indicate a potential role for HIF-1 in sustaining polySia-mediated migratory capacity, but not cell survival. These data add to the growing body of evidence pointing to a crucial role for the polysialyltransferases (polySTs) in neuroendocrine tumour progression and provide the first evidence to suggest that polySia is associated with an aggressive phenotype in tumour hypoxia. These results have significant potential implications for polyST inhibition as an anti-metastatic therapeutic strategy and for targeting hypoxic cancer cells.
    • Preclinical anti-cancer activity and multiple mechanisms of action of a cationic silver complex bearing N-heterocyclic carbene ligands

      Allison, Simon J.; Sadiq, Maria; Baronou, Efstathia; Cooper, Patricia A.; Dunnill, C.; Georgopoulos, N.T.; Latif, A.; Shepherd, S.L.; Shnyder, Steven D.; Stratford, I.J.; et al. (2017-09)
      Organometallic complexes offer the prospect of targeting multiple pathways that are important in cancer biology. Here, the preclinical activity and mechanism(s) of action of a silver-bis(N-heterocyclic carbine) complex (Ag8) were evaluated. Ag8 induced DNA damage via several mechanisms including topoisomerase I/II and thioredoxin reductase inhibition and induction of reactive oxygen species. DNA damage induction was consistent with cytotoxicity observed against proliferating cells and Ag8 induced cell death by apoptosis. Ag8 also inhibited DNA repair enzyme PARP1, showed preferential activity against cisplatin resistant A2780 cells and potentiated the activity of temozolomide. Ag8 was substantially less active against non-proliferating non-cancer cells and selectively inhibited glycolysis in cancer cells. Ag8 also induced significant anti-tumour effects against cells implanted intraperitoneally in hollow fibres but lacked activity against hollow fibres implanted subcutaneously. Thus, Ag8 targets multiple pathways of importance in cancer biology, is less active against non-cancer cells and shows activity in vivo in a loco-regional setting.
    • Probing cytochrome P450-mediated activation with a truncated azinomycin analogue

      Vinader, Victoria; Sadiq, Maria; Sutherland, Mark H.; Huang, M.Y.; Loadman, Paul M.; Elsalem, Lina M.I.; Shnyder, Steven D.; Cui, H.J.; Afarinkia, Kamyar; Searcey, M.; et al. (2015)
      A deactivated alkene precursor (IC50=81 mu M) to the azinomycin epoxide natural product can be bioactivated by several cytochromes P450 (CYP) to generate antiproliferative metabolites with increased potency (IC50=1-30 mu M) in CHOwt cells. CYP1A1 and 3A4 were shown to generate exclusively the unnatural and the natural-configured azinomycin epoxide diastereoisomer respectively, while CYP1B1 produced both epoxides in a 3:1 mixture. The antiproliferative activity is linked to DNA damage as demonstrated using the comet assay.