Tumor hypoxia has been considered to be a potential therapeutic target, because hypoxia is a common feature of solid tumors and is associated with their malignant phenotype. In the present study, we investigated the antitumor effect of a novel hypoxic cytotoxin, 3-[2-hydroxyethyl(methyl)amino]-2-quinoxalinecarbonitrile 1,4-dioxide (TX-2098) in inhibiting the expression of hypoxia inducible factor-1α (HIF-1α), and consequently vascular endothelial cell growth factor (VEGF) expression in pancreatic cancer. The antitumor effects of TX-2098 under hypoxia were tested against various human pancreatic cancer cell lines using WST-8 assay. VEGF protein induced pancreatic cancer was determined on cell-free supernatant by ELISA. Moreover, nude mice bearing subcutaneously (s.c.) or orthotopically implanted human SUIT-2 were treated with TX-2098. Tumor volume, survival and expression of HIF-1 and associated molecules were evaluated in treatment versus control groups. In vitro, TX-2098 inhibited the proliferation of various pancreatic cancer cell lines. In s.c model, tumors from nude mice injected with pancreatic cancer cells and treated with TX-2098 showed significant reductions in volume (P<0.01 versus control). Quantitative real-time reverse transcription-PCR analysis revealed that TX-2098 significantly inhibited mRNA expression of the HIF-1 associated molecules, VEGF, glucose transporter 1 and Aldolase A (P<0.01 versus control). These treatments also prolong the survival in orthotopic models. These results suggest that the effect of TX-2098 in pancreatic cancer might be correlated with the expression of VEGF and HIF-1 targeted molecules.
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