Improving patient outcome by personalized therapy involves a thorough understanding of an agent's mechanism of action. β-Lapachone (clinical forms, Arq501/Arq761) has been developed to exploit dramatic cancer-specific elevations in the phase II detoxifying enzyme NAD(P)H:quinone oxidoreductase (NQO1). NQO1 is dramatically elevated in solid cancers, including primary and metastatic [e.g., triplenegative (ER-, PR-, Her2/Neu-)] breast cancers. To define cellular factors that influence the efficacy of β-lapachone using knowledge of its mechanism of action, we confirmed that NQO1 was required for lethality and mediated a futile redox cycle where ~120 moles of superoxide were formed per mole of β-lapachone in 2 minutes. β-Lapachone induced reactive oxygen species (ROS), stimulated DNA singlestrand break-dependent poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase-1 (PARP1) hyperactivation, caused dramatic loss of essential nucleotides (NAD + /ATP), and elicited programmed necrosis in breast cancer cells. Although PARP1 hyperactivation and NQO1 expression were major determinants of β-lapachone-induced lethality, alterations in catalase expression, including treatment with exogenous enzyme, caused marked cytoprotection. Thus, catalase is an important resistance factor and highlights H2O2 as an obligate ROS for cell death from this agent. Exogenous superoxide dismutase enhanced catalase-induced cytoprotection. β-Lapachone-induced cell death included apoptosis-inducing factor (AIF) translocation from mitochondria to nuclei, TUNEL+ staining, atypical PARP1 cleavage, and glyceraldehyde 3-phosphate dehydrogenase S-nitrosylation, which were abrogated by catalase. We predict that the ratio of NQO1:catalase activities in breast cancer versus associated normal tissue are likely to be the major determinants affecting the therapeutic window of β-lapachone and other NQO1 bioactivatable drugs.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cancer Research