Nilotinib (AMN) induces apoptosis in various cancer cells; however the effect of AMN on human ovarian cancer cells is still unclear. A reduction in cell viability associated with the occurrence of apoptotic characteristics was observed in human SKOV-3 ovarian cancer cells under AMN but not sorafenib (SORA) or imatinib (STI) stimulation. Activation of apoptotic pathway including increased caspase (Casp)-3 and poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase 1 (PARP1) protein cleavage by AMN was detected with disrupted mitochondrial membrane potential (MMP) accompanied by decreased Bcl-2 protein and increased cytosolic cytochrome (Cyt) c/cleaved Casp-9 protein expressions was found, and AMN-induced cell death was inhibited by peptidyl Casp inhibitors, VAD, DEVD and LEHD. Increased phosphorylated c-Jun N-terminal kinase (JNK) protein expression was detected in AMN- but not SORA- or STI-treated SKOV-3 cells, and the JNK inhibitors, SP600125 and JNKI, showed slight but significant enhancement of AMN-induced cell death in SKOV-3 cells. The intracellular peroxide level was elevated by AMN and H2O2, and N-acetylcysteine (NAC) prevented H2O2- but not AMN-induced peroxide production and apoptosis in SKOV-3 cells. AMN induction of apoptosis with increased intracellular peroxide production and JNK protein phosphorylation was also identified in human A2780 ovarian cancer cells, cisplatin-resistant A2780CP cells, and clear ES-2 cells. The evidence supporting AMN effectively reducing the viability of human ovarian cancer cells via mitochondrion-dependent apoptosis is provided.
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