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Identification of a thalidomide derivative that selectively targets tumorigenic liver progenitor cells and comparing its effects with lenalidomide and sorafenib

Woo, K., Stewart, S.G., Kong, G.S., Finch-Edmondson, M.L., Dwyer, B.J., Yeung, S.Y., Abraham, L.J., Kampmann, S.S., Diepeveen, L.A., Passman, A.M., Elsegood, C.L., Tirnitz-Parker, J.E.E., Callus, B.A., Olynyk, J.K. and Yeoh, G.C.T. (2016) Identification of a thalidomide derivative that selectively targets tumorigenic liver progenitor cells and comparing its effects with lenalidomide and sorafenib. European Journal of Medicinal Chemistry, 120 . pp. 275-283.

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Link to Published Version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ejmech.2016.03.015
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Abstract

Background & aims
The availability of non-tumorigenic and tumorigenic liver progenitor cell (LPC) lines affords a method to screen putative anti-liver cancer agents to identify those that are selectively effective. To prove this principle we tested thalidomide and a range of its derivatives and compared them to lenalidomide and sorafenib, to assess their growth-inhibitory effects.

Methods
Cell growth, the mitotic and apoptotic index of cell cultures were measured using the Cellavista instrument (SynenTec) using commercially available reagents.

Results
Neither lenalidomide nor thalidomide (100 μM) affected tumorigenic LPCs but killed their non-tumorigenic counterparts. Sorafenib arrested growth in both cell types. All but two derivatives of thalidomide were ineffective; of the two effective derivatives, one (thalidomide C1) specifically affected the tumorigenic cell line (10 μM). Mitotic and apoptotic analyses revealed that thalidomide C1 induced apoptotic cell death and not mitotic arrest.

Conclusions
This study shows that screens incorporating non-tumorigenic and tumorigenic liver cell lines are a sound approach to identify agents that are effective and selective. A high throughput instrument such as the Cellavista affords robust and reproducible objective measurements with a large number of replicates that are reliable. These experiments show that neither lenalidomide nor thalidomide are potentially useful for anti-liver cancer therapy as they kill non-tumorigenic liver cells and not their tumorigenic counterparts. Sorafenib in contrast, is highly effective, but not selective. One tested thalidomide derivative has potential as an anti-tumor drug since it induced growth arrest; and importantly, it selectively induced apoptotic cell death only in tumorigenic liver progenitor cells.

Publication Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation: School of Veterinary and Life Sciences
Publisher: Elsevier Masson SAS
Copyright: © 2016 Elsevier Masson SAS.
URI: http://researchrepository.murdoch.edu.au/id/eprint/32028
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