The multikinase inhibitor EC-70124 synergistically increased the antitumor activity of doxorubicin in sarcomas

Int J Cancer. 2019 Jul 1;145(1):254-266. doi: 10.1002/ijc.32081. Epub 2019 Jan 14.


Cytotoxic drugs like doxorubicin remain as the most utilized agents in sarcoma treatment. However, advanced sarcomas are often resistant, thus stressing the need for new therapies aimed to overcome this resistance. Multikinase inhibitors provide an efficient way to target several pro-tumorigenic pathways using a single agent and may constitute a valuable strategy in the treatment of sarcomas, which frequently show an aberrant activation of pro-tumoral kinases. Therefore, we studied the antitumor activity of EC-70124, an indolocarbazole analog that have demonstrated a robust ability to inhibit a wide range of pro-survival kinases. Evaluation of the phospho-kinase profile in cell-of-origin sarcoma models and/or sarcoma primary cell lines evidenced that PI3K/AKT/mTOR, JAK/STAT or SRC were among the most highly activated pathways. In striking contrast with the structurally related drug midostaurin, EC-70124 efficiently prevented the phosphorylation of these targets and robustly inhibited proliferation through a mechanism associated to the induction of DNA damage, cell cycle arrest and apoptosis. In addition, EC-70124 was able to partially reduce tumor growth in vivo. Importantly, this compound inhibited the expression and activity of ABC efflux pumps involved in drug resistance. In line with this ability, we found that the combined treatment of EC-70124 with doxorubicin resulted in a synergistic cytotoxic effect in vitro and an increased antitumor activity of this cytotoxic drug in vivo. Altogether, these results uncover the capability of the novel multikinase inhibitor EC-70124 to counteract drug resistance in sarcoma and highlight its therapeutic potential when combined with current treatments.

Keywords: ABC pumps; EC-70124; doxorubicin; drug resistance; indolocarbazole; mTOR; myxoid liposarcoma; sarcoma.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • ATP-Binding Cassette Transporters / antagonists & inhibitors
  • ATP-Binding Cassette Transporters / metabolism
  • Animals
  • Antineoplastic Combined Chemotherapy Protocols / pharmacology*
  • Carbazoles / pharmacology*
  • Doxorubicin / administration & dosage
  • Doxorubicin / pharmacology*
  • Drug Synergism
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred NOD
  • Mice, SCID
  • Protein Kinase Inhibitors / administration & dosage
  • Protein Kinase Inhibitors / pharmacology
  • Sarcoma / drug therapy*
  • Sarcoma / enzymology
  • Signal Transduction / drug effects
  • Staurosporine / analogs & derivatives
  • Staurosporine / pharmacology
  • TOR Serine-Threonine Kinases / antagonists & inhibitors
  • TOR Serine-Threonine Kinases / metabolism
  • Tumor Cells, Cultured
  • Xenograft Model Antitumor Assays


  • ATP-Binding Cassette Transporters
  • Carbazoles
  • Protein Kinase Inhibitors
  • Doxorubicin
  • MTOR protein, human
  • TOR Serine-Threonine Kinases
  • Staurosporine
  • midostaurin