Combined inhibition of JAK1/2 and DNMT1 by newly identified small-molecule compounds synergistically suppresses the survival and proliferation of cervical cancer cells

Cell Death Dis. 2020 Sep 7;11(9):724. doi: 10.1038/s41419-020-02934-8.


Despite substantial advances in treating cervical cancer (CC) with surgery, radiation and chemotherapy, patients with advanced CC still have poor prognosis and significantly variable clinical outcomes due to tumor recurrence and metastasis. Therefore, to develop more efficacious and specific treatments for CC remains an unmet clinical need. In this study, by virtual screening the SPECS database, we identified multiple novel JAK inhibitor candidates and validated their antitumor drug efficacies that were particularly high against CC cell lines. AH057, the best JAK inhibitor identified, effectively blocked the JAK/STAT pathways by directly inhibiting JAK1/2 kinase activities, and led to compromised cell proliferation and invasion, increased apoptosis, arrested cell cycles, and impaired tumor progression in vitro and in vivo. Next, by screening the Selleck chemical library, we identified SGI-1027, a DNMT1 inhibitor, as the compound that displayed the highest synergy with AH057. By acting on a same set of downstream effector molecules that are dually controlled by JAK1/2 and DNMT1, the combination of AH057 with SGI-1027 potently and synergistically impaired CC cell propagation via dramatically increasing apoptotic cell death and cell-cycle arrest. These findings establish a preclinical proof of concept for combating CC by dual targeting of JAK1/2 and DNMT1, and provide support for launching a clinical trial to evaluate the efficacy and safety of this drug combination in patients with CC and other malignant tumors.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Cell Proliferation
  • DNA (Cytosine-5-)-Methyltransferase 1 / metabolism*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Janus Kinase 1 / metabolism*
  • Janus Kinase 2 / metabolism*
  • Molecular Docking Simulation / methods*
  • Survival Analysis
  • Uterine Cervical Neoplasms / genetics*
  • Uterine Cervical Neoplasms / mortality


  • DNA (Cytosine-5-)-Methyltransferase 1
  • DNMT1 protein, human
  • JAK1 protein, human
  • Janus Kinase 1
  • Janus Kinase 2