The present study is the first to show in pancreatic cancer (PC) the growth inhibition and apoptosis by novel MDM2 inhibitors (MI-319 & 219) through reactivation of p53 pathway. Our results highlight two new secondary targets of MDM2 inhibitor ‘SIRT1’ and Ku70. SIRT1 has a role in ageing and cancer and is known to regulate p53 signaling through acetylation. Ku70 is a key component of non-homologous end joining machinery in the DNA damage pathway and is known to regulate apoptosis by blocking Bax entry into mitochondria. Growth inhibition and apoptosis by MI-219, MI-319 was accompanied by increase in levels of p53 along with p21WAF1 and the proapoptotic puma. SiRNA against p21WAF1 abrogated the growth inhibition of PC cells confirming p21WAF1 as a key player downstream of activated p53. Immunoprecipitation-western blot analysis revealed reduced association of MDM2-p53 interaction in drug exposed PC cells. In combination studies, the inhibitors synergistically augmented anti-tumor effects of therapeutic drug gemcitabine both in terms of cell growth inhibition as well as apoptosis. Surface plasmon resonance studies confirmed strong binding between MI-319 and Ku70 (KD 170 μM). Western blot revealed suppression of SIRT1 and Ku70 with simultaneous upregulation of acetyl-p53 (Lys379) and Bax. Co-Immunoprecipitation studies confirmed that MI-319 could disrupt Ku70-Bax and SIRT1-Bax interaction. Further, using wt-p53 xenograft of Capan-2, we found that oral administration of MI-319 at 300 mg/kg for 14 days resulted in significant tumor growth inhibition without any observed toxicity to the animals. No tumor inhibition was found in mut-p53 BxPC-3 xenografts. In light of our results, the inhibitors of MDM2 warrant clinical investigation as new agents for PC treatment.
Keywords: MDM2 and p53, Small molecule inhibitors, cell cycle arrest, apoptosis, pancreatic cancer
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