Quantitative High-Throughput Screening Using an Organotypic Model Identifies Compounds that Inhibit Ovarian Cancer Metastasis.


The tumor microenvironment (TME) is a key determinant of metastatic efficiency. We performed a quantitative high-throughput screen (qHTS) of diverse medicinal chemistry tractable scaffolds (44,420 compounds) and pharmacologically active small molecules (386 compounds) using a layered organotypic, robust assay representing the ovarian cancer metastatic TME. This 3D model contains primary human mesothelial cells, fibroblasts, and extracellular matrix, to which fluorescently labeled ovarian cancer cells are added. Initially, 100 compounds inhibiting ovarian cancer adhesion/invasion to the 3D model in a dose-dependent manner were identified. Of those, eight compounds were confirmed active in five high-grade serous ovarian cancer cell lines and were further validated in secondary in vitro and in vivo biological assays. Two tyrosine kinase inhibitors, PP-121 and milciclib, and a previously unreported compound, NCGC00117362, were selected because they had potency at 1 μmol/L in vitro Specifically, NCGC00117362 and PP-121 inhibited ovarian cancer adhesion, invasion, and proliferation, whereas milciclib inhibited ovarian cancer invasion and proliferation. Using in situ kinase profiling and immunoblotting, we found that milciclib targeted Cdk2 and Cdk6, and PP-121 targeted mTOR. In vivo, all three compounds prevented ovarian cancer adhesion/invasion and metastasis, prolonged survival, and reduced omental tumor growth in an intervention study. To evaluate the clinical potential of NCGC00117362, structure-activity relationship studies were performed. Four close analogues of NCGC00117362 efficiently inhibited cancer aggressiveness in vitro and metastasis in vivo Collectively, these data show that a complex 3D culture of the TME is effective in qHTS. The three compounds identified have promise as therapeutics for prevention and treatment of ovarian cancer metastasis.


Kenny, Hilary A; Lal-Nag, Madhu; Shen, Min; Kara, Betul; Nahotko, Dominik A; Wroblewski, Kristen; Fazal, Sarah; Chen, Siquan; Chiang, Chun-Yi; Chen, Yen-Ju; Brimacombe, Kyle; Marugan, Juan; Ferrer-Alegre, Marc; Lengyel, Ernst;

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