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Novel BH4-BCL-2 Domain Antagonists Induce BCL-2-Mediated Apoptosis in Triple-Negative Breast Cancer
V. Kanakaveti, S. Ramasamy, R. Kanumuri, V. Balasubramanian, R. Saravanan, I. Ezhil, R. Pitani, G. Venkatraman, ,
Published in MDPI
Volume: 14
Issue: 21
Targeting the challenging tumors lacking explicit markers and predictors for chemosensitivity is one of the major impediments of the current cancer armamentarium. Triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) is an aggressive and challenging molecular subtype of breast cancer, which needs astute strategies to achieve clinical success. The pro-survival B-cell lymphoma 2 (BCL-2) overexpression reported in TNBC plays a central role in deterring apoptosis and is a promising target. Here, we propose three novel BH4 mimetic small molecules, SM396, a covalent binder, and two non-covalent binders, i.e., SM216 and SM949, which show high binding affinity (nM) and selectivity, designed by remodeling the existing BCL-2 chemical space. Our mechanistic studies validate the selectivity of the compounds towards cancerous cells and not on normal cells. A series of functional assays illustrated BCL-2-mediated apoptosis in the tumor cells as a potent anti-cancerous mechanism. Moreover, the compounds exhibited efficacious in vivo activity as single agents in the MDA-MB-231 xenograft model (at nanomolar dosage). Overall, these findings depict SM216, SM396, and SM949 as promising leads, pointing to the clinical translation of these compounds in targeting triple-negative breast cancer. © 2022 by the authors.
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