The therapeutic effect of the BRD4-degrading PROTAC A1874 in human colon cancer cells

A1874 is a novel BRD4-degrading proteolysis targeting chimera (PROTAC). In primary colon cancer cells and established HCT116 cells, A1874 potently inhibited cell viability, proliferation, cell cycle progression, as well as cell migration and invasion. The BRD4-degrading PROTAC was able to induce caspase and apoptosis activation in colon cancer cells. Furthermore, A1874-induced degradation of BRD4 protein and downregulated BRD-dependent genes (c-Myc, Bcl-2, and cyclin D1) in colon cancer cells. Significantly, A1874-induced anti-colon cancer cell activity was more potent than the known BRD4 inhibitors (JQ1, CPI203, and I-BET151). In BRD4-knockout colon cancer cells A1874 remained cytotoxic, indicating the existence of BRD4-independent mechanisms. In addition to BRD4 degradation, A1874 cytotoxicity in colon cancer cells was also associated with p53 protein stabilization and reactive oxygen species production. Importantly, the antioxidant N-acetyl-cysteine and the p53 inhibitor pifithrin-α attenuated A1874-induced cell death and apoptosis in colon cancer cells. In vivo, A1874 oral administration potently inhibited colon cancer xenograft growth in severe combined immuno-deficient mice. BRD4 degradation and p53 protein elevation, as well as apoptosis induction and oxidative stress were detected in A1874-treated colon cancer tissues. Together, A1874 inhibits colon cancer cell growth through both BRD4-dependent and -independent mechanisms.

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