Background/Aims: Targeting survivin, an anti-apoptotic protein and mitotic regulator, is considered as an effective therapeutic option for pancreatic cancer (PaCa). Tolfenamic acid (TA) showed anti-cancer activity in pre-clinical studies. A recent discovery demonstrated a copper(II) complex of TA (Cu-TA) can result in higher activity. In this study, the ability of Cu-TA to inhibit survivin and its transcription factors, Specificity protein (Sp) 1 and 3 in PaCa cell lines and tumor growth in mouse xenograft model were evaluated. Methods: Cell growth inhibition was measured in MIA PaCa-2 and Panc1 cells for 2 days using CellTiter-Glo kit. Sp1, Sp3 and survivin expression (by Western blot and qPCR), apoptotic cells and cell cycle phase distribution (by flow cytometry) were evaluated. A pilot study was performed using athymic nude mice [treated with vehicle/Cu-TA (25 or 50 mg/kg) 3 times/week for 4 weeks. Results: The IC 50 value for Cu-TA was about half than TA.Both agents repressed the protein expression of Sp1/Sp3/survivin, Cu-TA was more effective than TA. Especially effect on survivin inhibition was 5.2 (MIA PaCa-2) or 6.4 (Panc1) fold higher and mRNA expression of only survivin was decreased. Apoptotic cells increased with Cu-TA treatment in both cell lines, while Panc1 showed both effect on apoptosis and cell cycle (G 2 /M) arrest. Cu-TA decreased the tumor growth in mouse xenografts (25 mg/kg: 48%; 50 mg/kg: 68%). Additionally, there was no change observed in mice body weights, indicating no overt toxicity was occurring. Conclusion: These results show that Cu-TA can serve as an effective survivin inhibitor for inhibiting PaCa cell growth.
- Copper-tolfenamic acid
- Pancreatic cancer