The tumor-suppressor p53 prevents cancer development via initiating cell-cycle arrest, cell death, repair, or antiangiogenesis processes. Over 50% of human cancers harbor cancer-causing mutant p53. p53 mutations not only abrogate its tumor-suppressor function, but also endow mutant p53 with a gain of function (GOF), creating a proto-oncogene that contributes to tumorigenesis, tumor progression, and chemo- or radiotherapy resistance. Thus, targeting mutant p53 to restore a wild-type p53 signaling pathway provides an attractive strategy for cancer therapy. We demonstrate that small-molecule NSC59984 not only restores wild-type p53 signaling, but also depletes mutant p53 GOF. NSC59984 induces mutant p53 protein degradation via MDM2 and the ubiquitin-proteasome pathway. NSC59984 restores wild-type p53 signaling via p73 activation, specifically in mutant p53-expressing colorectal cancer cells. At therapeutic doses, NSC59984 induces p73-dependent cell death in cancer cells with minimal genotoxicity and without evident toxicity toward normal cells. NSC59984 synergizes with CPT11 to induce cell death in mutant p53-expressing colorectal cancer cells and inhibits mutant p53-associated colon tumor xenograft growth in a p73-dependent manner in vivo.We hypothesize that specific targeting of mutant p53 may be essential for anticancer strategies that involve the stimulation of p73 in order to efficiently restore tumor suppression. Taken together, our data identify NSC59984 as a promising lead compound for anticancer therapy that acts by targeting GOF-mutant p53 and stimulates p73 to restore the p53 pathway signaling.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cancer Research