Bis-anthracycline WP760 abrogates melanoma cell growth by transcription inhibition, p53 activation and IGF1R downregulation

Magdalena Olbryt, Aleksandra Rusin, Izabela Fokt, Anna Habryka, Patrycja Tudrej, Sebastian Student, Aleksander Sochanik, Rafał Zieliński, Waldemar Priebe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Anthracycline chemotherapeutics, e.g. doxorubicin and daunorubicin, are active against a broad spectrum of cancers. Their cytotoxicity is mainly attributed to DNA intercalation, interference with topoisomerase activity, and induction of double-stranded DNA breaks. Since modification of anthracyclines can profoundly affect their pharmacological properties we attempted to elucidate the mechanism of action, and identify possible molecular targets, of bis-anthracycline WP760 which previously demonstrated anti-melanoma activity at low nanomolar concentrations. We studied the effect of WP760 on several human melanoma cell lines derived from tumors in various development stages and having different genetic backgrounds. WP760 inhibited cell proliferation (IC50 = 1–99 nM), impaired clonogenic cell survival (100 nM), and inhibited spheroid growth (≥300 nM). WP760 did not induce double-stranded DNA breaks but strongly inhibited global transcription. Moreover, WP760 caused nucleolar stress and led to activation of the p53 pathway. PCR array analysis showed that WP760 suppressed transcription of ten genes (ABCC1, MTOR, IGF1R, EGFR, GRB2, PRKCA, PRKCE, HDAC4, TXNRD1, AKT1) associated with, inter alia, cytoprotective mechanisms initiated in cancer cells during chemotherapy. Furthermore, WP760 downregulated IGF1R and upregulated PLK2 expression in most of the tested melanoma cell lines. These results suggest that WP760 exerts anti-melanoma activity by targeting global transcription and activation of the p53 pathway and could become suitable as an effective therapeutic agent.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)545-555
Number of pages11
JournalInvestigational New Drugs
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 1 2017


  • Anthracyclines
  • Melanoma
  • Transcriptional inhibitor
  • WP760
  • p53

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Pharmacology
  • Pharmacology (medical)

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