[EZ-LDH] New screening system using Twist1 promoter activity identifies dihydrorotenone as a potent drug targeting cancer-associated fibroblasts

2020.07.09 11:17 2,203 0



Cancer-associated fibroblasts (CAFs) are the most abundant stromal cells in tumor microenvironments. These cells strongly support tumor progression and are considered to be potent therapeutic targets. Therefore, drugs targeting CAFs have been developed, but most of them have failed in clinical trials. The discovery of additional drugs to inactivate or eliminate CAFs is thus essential. In this study, we developed a high-throughput screening system to find anti-CAF drugs using reporter cells that express Twist1 promoter-GFP. This screening system uses the activity of the Twist1 promoter as an indicator of CAF activation because Twist1 is known to be a central player in CAF activation. Using this screening system, we found that dihydrorotenone (DHR), an inhibitor of electron transfer chain complex 1 in mitochondria, can effectively deactivate CAFs. DHR-treated CAFs exhibited reduced expression of CAF-enriched markers, decreased capability of collagen gel contraction, and impaired ability to engage in tumor-promoting activities, such as facilitating the proliferation and colonization of cancer cells. Furthermore, conditioned media from DHR-treated CAFs attenuated tumor progression in mice grafted with MNK28 cells. In conclusion, DHR can be considered as a candidate drug targeting CAFs.

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