Ethyl 2-amino-6-(3,5-dimethoxyphenyl)-4-(2-ethoxy-2-oxoethyl)-4H-chromene-3-carboxylate (CXL017): a novel scaffold that resensitizes multidrug resistant leukemia cells to chemotherapy

ACS Chem Biol. 2013 Feb 15;8(2):327-35. doi: 10.1021/cb300460f. Epub 2012 Nov 5.


Multidrug resistance (MDR) is a major hurdle in the treatment of cancer, and there is a pressing need for new therapies. We have recently developed ethyl 2-amino-6-(3,5-dimethoxyphenyl)-4-(2-ethoxy-2-oxoethyl)-4H-chromene-3-carboxylate (CXL017), derived from a dual inhibitor of Bcl-2 and SERCA proteins, sHA 14-1, with selective cytotoxicity toward MDR cancer cell lines in vitro. In this study, we present new evidence for its therapeutic potential in treatment of MDR cancers and offer mechanistic insights toward its preferential targeting of drug-resistant cancer. CXL017 selectively suppressed the growth of tumors derived from the MDR cancer cell line, HL60/MX2, in vivo. In addition, even after chronic exposure to CXL017, HL60/MX2 failed to develop stable resistance to CXL017, whereas it acquired >2000-fold resistance to cytarabine (Ara-C), the major first-line chemotherapy for the treatment of acute myeloid leukemia (AML). Remarkably, instead of acquiring further cross-resistance, HL60/MX2 cells exposed to CXL017 were resensitized to standard therapies (10- to 100-fold). Western blotting analyses revealed that CXL017 exposure significantly down-regulated Mcl-1 and Bax and up-regulated Noxa, Bim, Bcl-X(L), SERCA2, and SERCA3 proteins, along with a reduction in endoplasmic reticulum (ER) calcium content. Given the well-established functions of Bcl-2 family proteins and ER calcium in drug resistance, our results suggest that the down-regulation of Mcl-1 and the up-regulation of Noxa and Bim along with the decrease in ER calcium content are likely responsible for CXL017-induced resensitization of MDR cancer cells. These data also demonstrate the unique potential of CXL017 to overcome MDR in cancer treatment.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Antineoplastic Combined Chemotherapy Protocols / chemistry
  • Antineoplastic Combined Chemotherapy Protocols / pharmacology*
  • Antineoplastic Combined Chemotherapy Protocols / therapeutic use
  • Benzopyrans / chemistry
  • Benzopyrans / pharmacology*
  • Cell Survival / drug effects
  • Cytarabine / chemistry
  • Cytarabine / pharmacology*
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Drug Resistance, Multiple / drug effects*
  • Drug Resistance, Neoplasm / drug effects*
  • Drug Screening Assays, Antitumor
  • HL-60 Cells
  • Humans
  • Leukemia, Myeloid, Acute / drug therapy*
  • Leukemia, Myeloid, Acute / pathology
  • Structure-Activity Relationship
  • Tumor Cells, Cultured


  • Benzopyrans
  • ethyl 2-amino-6-(3,5-dimethoxyphenyl)-4-(2-ethoxy-2-oxoethyl)-4H-chromene-3-carboxylate
  • Cytarabine