Antitumor and anticarcinogenic actions of Cpd 5: A new class of protein phosphatase inhibitor

Siddhartha Kar, Meifang Wang, Craig S. Wilcox, Brian I. Carr

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Dual specificity phosphatases (DSP) play an important role in control of the cell cycle and signal transduction. We have synthesized a new class of DSP inhibitors. Cpd 5 or [2-(2-mercaptoethanol)-3-methyl-1,4-naphthoquinone] is one of the most potent of these. It inhibits DSPs of cells in culture and induces tyrosine phosphorylation of various DSP substrates, including the Cdc25 target Cdks and it potently inhibits cell growth. In this study, we have evaluated Cpd 5 in vivo for its antitumor and growth inhibitory activity on carcinogen-altered foci. Cpd 5 inhibited growth of the transplantable rat hepatoma cell line JM-1 in vitro, with concomitant phosphorylation of the mitogen-activated protein kinase ERK1/2 but not JNK1/2 or p38. This ERK phosphorylation was associated with growth inhibition, as the ERK phosphorylation inhibitor PD098059 antagonized both ERK phosphorylation and growth inhibition. JM-1 cell lysates were found to contain ERK1/2-specific phosphatase(s) that could be inhibited by Cpd 5 and which are thought to be its major targets. Cpd 5 caused significant inhibition of both intrahepatic and subcutaneous (s.c.) growth of transplanted JM-1 cells in male Fischer F344 rats. The treatment was equally effective whether Cpd 5 was administered either as a single, acute dose or chronically as several lower doses. However, toxicity was much lower with chronic treatment. As in JM-1 cells in vitro, ERK1/2 was phosphorylated when rats in vivo were treated with Cpd 5 and tumor growth inhibition in vivo also was antagonized by treating rats with the ERK1/2 phosphorylation inhibitor PD098059. A single dose of Cpd 5 also inhibited the formation of glutathione S-transferase-pi enzyme-altered cells induced by the hepatocarcinogen N-nitrosodiethylamine. This is the first report of the in vivo activity and growth inhibitory mechanism of a novel class of K vitamin growth inhibitors that have potent tyrosine phosphatase activity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)411-416
Number of pages6
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Mar 1 2003

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cancer Research

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