Biological evaluation of 23-dichloro-5,8-dimethoxy-1,4-naphthoquinone as an anti-breast cancer agent

Yasmine M. Kanaan, Jharna R. Das, Ladapo Bakare, Nkechi M. Enwerem, Solomon Berhe, Desta Beyene, Vonita Williams, Yanfei Zhou, Robert L. Copeland

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Background: Breast cancer is the most frequent cancer and the second leading cause of cancer deaths in women today. A number of 1,4-naphthoquinone derivatives have been found to possess significant pharmacological effects associated with marked antimicrobial and antitumor activities. In the present study, the in vitro effect of 2,3-dichloro-5,8-dimethoxy-1,4-naphthoquinone (DCDMNQ) was evaluated on estrogen-positive MCF-7 and estrogen-negative MDA-MB-436 and Hs-578T human breast cancer cell lines. Moreover, the in vitro activity of this compound on cell cycle regulation and apoptosis were evaluated. Materials and Methods: Established methods of cell viability, cell cycle, Western blot and apoptosis were used. Results: The effect of DCDMNQ on MCF- 7, MDA-MB-436 and Hs-578T cells revealed significant antitumor activities with IC 50S, of 0.6±0.02, 1.4±0.25 and 3.1±0.4 μM respectively. Cell cycle analysis showed that DCDMNQ inhibited progression through the cell cycle in MCF-7 and MDA-MB-436 cell lines in a time-dependent manner. DCDMNQ arrested cells in the S-phase of the cell cycle with the greatest proportion of cells in the S-phase by day 5. This cell-cycle arrest was corroborated by inhibition of topoisomerase I induced by DCDMNQ. These findings were further validated using Western blot analysis of retinoblastoma protein time-dependent phosphorylation. Furthermore, DCDMNQ induced apoptosis in both estrogen-positive and -negative cell lines in a time-dependent manner. However, the highest percentages of apoptotic cells were observed in the MDA-MB-436 cell line. Conclusion: Although the mechanism of action of DCDMNQ has not been completely elucidated, it appears that this compound can inhibit topoisomerase I in a concentration-dependent manner. These promising results to explore novel naphthoquinone analogues as potential breast cancer agents. This study suggests that DCDMNQ may have an impact on treatment of estrogen-positive and -negative breast cancer while protecting the bone marrow.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)191-199
Number of pages9
JournalAnticancer Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • 23-Dichloro-5,8-Dimethoxy-1,4-naphthoquinone
  • Apoptosis
  • Cell cycle
  • Cytotoxicity
  • Estrogen positive/negative breast cancer cell lines

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cancer Research
  • Oncology


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