Vorinostat, which is an extensively studied inhibitor against histone deacetylase (HDAC), shows limited clinical activity to solid tumors. WJ35435, a new hybrid of vorinostat and DACA (a topoisomerase inhibitor) potently inhibited HDAC activity (in particular HDAC1 and HDAC6) in kinase assay and cell-based examination. The anti-HDAC effect was confirmed by the induction of histone H3 acetylation and phosphorylation, α-tubulin acetylation and γ-H2AX formation. WJ35435 showed better potency than vorinostat and DACA against PC-3 and DU-145, two human hormone-refractory metastatic prostate cancer (HRMPC) cell lines, but not benign prostate cells. WJ35435 at differential concentrations induced G1- or G2-phase arrest of the cell cycle in HRMPCs but not in benign prostate cells. WJ35435 induced the formation of topoisomerase I-DNA cleavable complexes but not type-IIα or -IIβ. Topoisomerase activity assay confirmed the selective inhibition of topoisomerase I. WJ35435 induced profound DNA damage using comet tailing assay. WJ35435 was less effective than camptothecin and etoposide in inducing the phosphorylation and activation of Chk1, Chk2 and RPA32 which were crucial coordinators in DNA repair pathway, indicating a low DNA repair activity to WJ35435 action. Furthermore, WJ35435 showed an in vivo antitumor activity. A synergistic apoptosis (combination index = 0.55) was obtained in combination between WJ35435 and MG-132 (a proteasome inhibitor). In summary, WJ35435 is a dual-targeted anticancer hybrid induces anti-HDAC and anti-topoisomerase I activities that cause DNA damage associated with a low DNA repair capability, and induce cell cycle arrest at G1- and G2-phase. Ultimately, WJ35435 inhibits cell proliferation and induces apoptosis of HRMPCs.
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