Targeting Germ Cell Tumors with the Newly Synthesized Flavanone-Derived Compound MLo1302 Efficiently Reduces Tumor Cell Viability and Induces Apoptosis and Cell Cycle Arrest.

Less toxic treatment strategies for testicular germ cell tumor (TGCT) patients are needed, as overtreatment is a concern due to the long-term side effects of platin-based chemotherapy. Although clinical benefit from classical hypomethylating agents has to date been limited, TGCTs show an abnormal DNA methylome indicating the potential of treating TGCTs with hypomethylating drugs. We tested, for the first time in TGCT cell lines, a new synthetic flavonoid compound (MLo1302) from the 3-nitroflavanone family of DNA methyltransferase (DNMT) inhibitors. We show that MLo1302 reduces cell viability (including of cisplatin resistant cell line NCCIT-R), with IC50s (inhibitory concentration 50) within the nanomolar range for NCCIT and NTERA-2 cells, and proved its cytotoxic effect. Exposure to MLo1302 reduced DNMT protein expression, similar to decitabine, and showed a partial effect in cell differentiation, reducing protein expression of pluripotency markers. RT2 profiler expression array indicated several dysregulated targets, related to activation of apoptosis, differentiation, and cell cycle arrest. We validated these data by showing increased apoptosis, increased protein expression of cleaved caspase 8 and activated caspase 2, and reduced proliferation (BrdU assay), with increase in CDKN1A and decrease in MIB-1 expression. Therefore, synthetic drugs designed to target DNA methylation in cells may uncover effective treatments for TGCT patients.

Pharmaceutics. 2021 Jan 07*** epublish ***

João Lobo, Ana Rita Cardoso, Vera Miranda-Gonçalves, Leendert H J Looijenga, Marie Lopez, Paola B Arimondo, Rui Henrique, Carmen Jerónimo

Cancer Biology and Epigenetics Group, IPO Porto Research Center (GEBC CI-IPOP), Portuguese Oncology Institute of Porto (IPO Porto) & Porto Comprehensive Cancer Center (P.CCC), R. Dr. António Bernardino de Almeida, 4200-072 Porto, Portugal., Princess Máxima Center for Pediatric Oncology, Heidelberglaan 25, 3584 CS Utrecht, The Netherlands., Institut des Biomolécules Max Mousseron (IBMM), CNRS, Université de Montpellier, ENSCM UMR 5247, 34296 Montpellier, France., Epigenetic Chemical Biology, Institut Pasteur, CNRS UMR3523, 75724 Paris, France.

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