The 5'-3' structure-specific endonuclease ERCC1/XPF (Excision Repair Cross-Complementation Group 1/Xeroderma Pigmentosum group F) plays critical roles in the repair of cisplatin-induced DNA damage. As such, it has been identified as a potential pharmacological target for enhancing clinical response to platinum-based chemotherapy. The goal of this study was to follow up on our previous identification of the compound NSC143099 as a potent inhibitor of ERCC1/XPF activity by performing an in silico screen to identify structural analogues that could inhibit ERCC1/XPF activity in vitro and in vivo. Using a fluorescence-based DNA-endonuclease incision assay, we identified the green tea polyphenol (-)-epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG) as a potent inhibitor of ERCC1/XPF activity with an IC50 (half maximal inhibitory concentration) in the nanomolar range in biochemical assays. Using DNA repair assays and clonogenic survival assays, we show that EGCG can inhibit DNA repair and enhance cisplatin sensitivity in human cancer cells. Finally, we show that a prodrug of EGCG, Pro-EGCG (EGCG octaacetate), can enhance response to platinum-based chemotherapy in vivo. Together these data support a novel target of EGCG in cancer cells, namely ERCC1/XPF. Our studies also corroborate previous observations that EGCG enhances sensitivity to cisplatin in multiple cancer types. Thus, EGCG or its prodrug makes an ideal candidate for further pharmacological development with the goal of enhancing cisplatin response in human tumors.
Keywords: DNA repair; ERCC1/XPF; chemoresistance; cisplatin; green tea polyphenols.