Preclinical Evaluation of the Novel Small-Molecule MSIN1014 for Treating Drug-Resistant Colon Cancer via the LGR5/β-catenin/miR-142-3p Network and Reducing Cancer-Associated Fibroblast Transformation

Colorectal cancer represents one of the most prevalent malignancies globally, with an estimated 140,000 new cases in the United States alone in 2019. Despite advancements in interventions, drug resistance occurs in virtually all patients diagnosed with late stages of colon cancer. Amplified epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) signaling is one of the most prevalent oncogenic drivers in patients and induces increased Janus kinase (JAK)/signal transduction and activator of transcription (STAT) and β-catenin functions, all of which facilitate disease progression. Equally important, cancerassociated fibroblasts (CAFs) transformed by cancer cells within the tumor microenvironment (TME) further facilitate malignancy by secreting interleukin (IL)-6 and augmenting STAT3 signaling in colon cancer cells and promoting the generation of cancer stem-like cells (CSCs). Based on these premises, single-targeted therapeutics have proven ineffective for treating malignant colon cancer, and alternative multipletargeting agents should be explored. Herein, we synthesized a tetracyclic heterocyclic azathioxanthone, MSI-N1014, and demonstrated its therapeutic potential both in vitro and in vivo. First, we used a co-culture system to demonstrate that colon cancer cells co-cultured with CAFs resulted in heightened 5- fluorouracil (5-FU) resistance and tumor sphere-forming ability and increased side populations, accompanied by elevated expression of cluster of differentiation 44 (CD44), β-catenin, leucine-rich repeat-containing G-protein-coupled receptor 5 (LGR5), and ATP-binding cassette super-family G member 2 (ABCG2).

Author(s): Vijesh Kumar Yadav

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