To evaluate the antitumor activity of NSC-743380 in lung cancer cells, we analyzed the susceptibility of 50 NSCLC cell lines to this compound using cell viability assay.
About 32% (16 of 50) of these cell lines were highly susceptible to this compound, with a 50% inhibitory concentration (IC₅₀) of < 1 μM. In mechanistic studies, the increased numbers of apoptotic cells as well as increased PARP cleavage showed that cytotoxic effects correlate with apoptosis induction.
Treatment with NSC-743380 inhibited transcription factor STAT3 activation and induced ROS production in sensitive human lung cancer cell lines but not in resistant cells.
Blocking ROS generation with the antioxidant NDGA dramatically abolished NSC-743380-induced growth suppression and apoptosis, but had minimal effect on NSC-743380-induced STAT3 inhibition, suggesting that STAT3 inhibition is not caused by ROS production. Interestingly, knockdown of STAT3 with use of shSTAT3 induced ROS generation and suppressed tumor cell growth. Moreover, scavenging ROS induced by STAT3 inhibition also diminished antitumor activity of STAT3 inhibition.
In vivo administration of NSC-743380 suppressed tumor growth and p-STAT3 in lung tumors.
Our results indicate that NSC-743380 is a potent anticancer agent for lung cancer and that its apoptotic effects in lung cancer cells are mediated by induction of ROS through STAT3 inhibition.