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The MTH1 inhibitor TH588 demonstrates anti-tumoral effects alone and in combination with everolimus, 5-FU and gamma-irradiation in neuroendocrine tumor cells

Modulation of the redox system in cancer cells has been considered a promising target for anti-cancer therapy. The novel MTH1 inhibitor TH588 proved tremendous potential in terms of cancer cell eradication, yet its specificity has been questioned by recent reports, indicating that TH588 may also induce cancer cell death by alternative mechanisms than MTH1 inhibition. Here we used a panel of heterogeneous neuroendocrine tumor cells in order to assess cellular mechanisms and molecular signaling pathways implicated in the effects of TH588 alone as well as dual-targeting approaches combining TH588 with everolimus, cytotoxic 5-fluorouracil or γ-irradiation. Our results reflect that TH588 alone efficiently decreased the survival of neuroendocrine cancer cells by PI3K-Akt-mTOR axis downregulation, increased apoptosis and oxidative stress. However, in the dual-targeting approaches cell survival was further decreased due to an even stronger downregulation of the PI3K-Akt-mTOR axis and augmentation of apoptosis but not oxidative stress. Furthermore, we could attribute TH588 chemo- and radio-sensitizing properties. Collectively our data not only provide insights into how TH588 exactly kills cancer cells but also depict novel perspectives for combinatorial treatment approaches encompassing TH588.

Elke Tatjana Aristizabal Prada, Michael Orth, Svenja Nölting, Gerald Spöttl, Julian Maurer, Christoph Auernhammer.

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