Background: Ovarian carcinoma is the leading cause of mortality among gynecological cancers in the world. The high mortality rate is associated with lack of early diagnosis and development of drug resistance. The antitumor efficacy and mechanism of NCX-4040, a nitric oxide-releasing aspirin derivative, against ovarian cancer is studied.
Methods: NCX-4040, alone or in combination with cisplatin (cis-diamminedichloroplatinum, cDDP), was studied in cisplatin-sensitive (A2780 WT) and cisplatin-resistant (A2780 cDDP) cell lines as well as xenograft tumors grown in nude mice. Electron paramagnetic resonance (EPR) was used for measurements of nitric oxide and redox state. Immunoblotting analysis of A2780 cDDP tumor xenografts from mice was used for mechanistic studies.
Results: Cells treated with NCX-4040 (25 microM) showed a significant reduction of cell viability (A2780 WT, 34.9 +/- 8.7%; A2780 cDDP, 41.7 +/- 7.6%; p < 0.05). Further, NCX-4040 significantly enhanced the sensitivity of A2780 cDDP cells (cisplatin alone, 80.6 +/- 11.8% versus NCX-4040+cisplatin, 26.4 +/- 7.6%; p < 0.01) and xenograft tumors (cisplatin alone, 74.0 +/- 4.4% versus NCX-4040+cisplatin, 56.4 +/- 7.8%; p < 0.05), to cisplatin treatment. EPR imaging of tissue redox and thiol measurements showed a 5.5-fold reduction (p < 0.01) of glutathione in NCX-4040-treated A2780 cDDP tumors when compared to untreated controls. Immunoblotting analysis of A2780 cDDP tumor xenografts from mice treated with NCX-4040 and cisplatin revealed significant downregulation of pEGFR (Tyr845 and Tyr992) and pSTAT3 (Tyr705 and Ser727) expression.
Conclusion: The results suggested that NCX-4040 could resensitize drug-resistant ovarian cancer cells to cisplatin possibly by depletion of cellular thiols. Thus NCX-4040 appears to be a potential therapeutic agent for the treatment of human ovarian carcinoma and cisplatin-resistant malignancies.