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Aryl hydrocarbon receptor activation by aminoflavone: New molecular target for renal cancer treatment

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Aminoflavone (AF; NSC 686288, AFP464, NSC710464) is a new anticancer drug that has recently entered phase II clinical trials. It has demonstrated antiproliferative effects in MCF-7 human breast cancer cells mediated by the aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AhR). AF also exhibits noteworthy evidence of antitumor activity in vitro and in vivo against neoplastic cells of renal origin. AF treatment of sensitive renal cells, in contrast to resistant cells, promotes the induction of CYP1A1, the covalent binding of AF-reactive intermediates and apoptosis. Based on this evidence, the aim of this study was to evaluate the role of AhR, the main transcriptional regulator of CYP1A1, in the antiproliferative effects of AF in human renal cancer cells. AF-cytoxicity in human renal cell lines and a renal cancer cell strain was assessed by MTS assay in the presence or absence of an Ahr inhibitor. Drug-induced AhR nuclear translocation was evaluated by western blotting of AhR in cytosolic and nuclear fractions and by measuring xenobiotic response element-driven luciferase activity. Apoptosis induced by the drug was evaluated by 4,6-diamidino-2-phenylindole and acridine orange/ethidium bromide staining and by measuring phosphorylated P53 (p-P53) and P21 levels, caspase 3 activation and poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase cleavage. AF inhibited cell growth in a dose-dependent manner in TK-10, Caki-1, SN12-C and A498 human renal cells but not in ACHN cells. The antiproliferative effect of AF was abrogated by pre-incubation of TK-10, Caki-1 and SN12-C cells with the AhR antagonist, α-naphthoflavone. AF treatment also induced apoptosis in TK-10, Caki-1 and SN12-C cells, which was not observed in ACHN cells. AF induced time-dependent AhR nuclear translocation and AhR transcriptional activity in sensitive renal cancer cell lines. A renal cell strain derived from a human papillary tumor also showed sensitivity to AF, as well as AhR pathway activation and drug-induced apoptosis. AhR translocation could be included as a marker of sensitivity to AF in sensitive renal tumor cells of different histological origin, in ongoing phase II clinical trials.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Research Area, Institute of Oncology ‘Ángel H. Roffo’, University of Buenos Aires, Ciudad de Buenos Aires, Argentina 2: ‘J. Fernández’ General Hospital, Buenos Aires, Argentina 3: Tigris Pharmaceuticals Inc., Bonita Springs, FL, USA

Publication date: January 1, 2012

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  • The International Journal of Oncology provides an international forum for the publication of the latest, cutting-edge research in the broad area of oncology and cancer treatment. The journal accepts original high quality works and reviews on all aspects of oncology research including carcinogenesis, metastasis, epidemiology, chemotherapy and viral oncology. Through fair and efficient peer review, the journal is dedicated to publishing top tier research in the field, offering authors rapid publication as well as high standards of copy-editing and production. The International Journal of Oncology is published on a monthly basis in both print and early online.
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