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Ethyl-2-amino-pyrrole-3-carboxylates are active against imatinib-resistant gastrointestinal stromal tumors in vitro and in vivo

Boichuk, Sergeia; Galembikova, Aigula; Dunaev, Pavela; Micheeva, Ekaterinaa; Novikova, Mariab; Khromova, Natalyab; Kopnin, Pavelb

doi: 10.1097/CAD.0000000000000753

We showed recently that ethyl-2-amino-pyrrole-3-carboxylates (EAPCs) exhibit potent antiproliferative activities against a broad spectrum of soft tissue sarcoma and gastrointestinal stromal tumor (GIST) cell lines in vitro. The molecular mechanism of action was owing to inhibition of tubulin polymerization and induction of a robust G2/M cell-cycle arrest, leading to the accumulation of tumor cells in the M-phase and induction of apoptosis. Given that more than 50% of the patients with GISTs develop resistance to imatinib (IM) over the 2 years of IM-based therapy, we examined whether EAPCs exhibit activity against IM-resistant GISTs in vitro and in vivo. A real-time antiproliferation assay illustrated the potent antiproliferative activities of EAPCs against IM-sensitive and IM-resistant GISTs. This was in agreement with the colony formation assay, which revealed potent antiproliferative activities of EAPCs against IM-resistant GISTs, being much stronger when compared with IM and doxorubicin, a topoisomerase II inhibitor. Next, we tested the efficacy of EAPCs in the xenograft model of GISTs, exhibiting secondary IM resistance owing to RTK switch (loss of c-KIT/gain of FGFR2α). A total of 30 5- to 8-week-old female nu/nu mice were subcutaneously inoculated into the flank areas with IM-resistant GIST-T1-R cells (100 μl of 1×107 GIST T-1R cells/ml suspension, in Dulbecco’s PBS). Mice were randomized as control (untreated), IM (50 mg/kg), EAPC-20 (10 mg/kg) or EAPC-24 (10 mg/kg) and were treated orally for 10 days. IM has a minor inhibitory effect on tumor size, thus revealing GIST resistance to IM. In contrast, both of EAPCs effectively reduced the tumor size. This was associated with an increased intratumoral apoptosis as detected by immunohistochemical staining for cleaved caspase-3 on day 5 of the treatment. Furthermore, both EAPCs significantly reduced the proliferative activity of tumor cells in the central zones of tumors as measured by positivity for Ki-67 staining. More importantly, in EAPC-24-treated GISTs, the histological response was mainly characterized by the induction of necrosis, whereas EAPC-20 induced the signs of intratumoral fibrosis and myxoid degeneration. Collectively, our data suggest that EAPC-20 and EAPC-24 are the perspective antitumor agents that exhibit antiproliferative and cytotoxic activity against GISTs exhibiting secondary resistance to IM.

aDepartment of Pathology, Kazan State Medical University, Kazan

bCytogenetics Laboratory, Carcinogenesis Institute, N.N. Blokhin National Medical Research Center of Oncology, Moscow, Russia

Correspondence to Sergei Boichuk, Dr Sci, MD, PhD, Department of Pathology, Kazan State Medical University, Kazan 420012, Russia Tel: +7 917 397 8093; fax: +8 843 236 0652; e-mail:

Received September 3, 2018

Accepted January 8, 2019

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