β-Lapachone [β-lap; 3,4-dihydro-2,2-dimethyl-2H-naphthol[1,2-b]pyran-5,6-dione] is a novel anticancer drug currently under investigation in phase I/II clinical trials. However, the mechanism underlying its clinical efficacy remains unclear. In this study, we found that β-lap provoked the cleavage of heat shock protein 90 (Hsp90) in NAD(P)H:quinone oxidoreductase-1 (NQO1)–expressing lung and prostate cancer cells as well as in primary human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVECs). These actions of β-lap were different from that of the conventional Hsp90 inhibitor 17-allylamino-17-demethoxygeldanamycin. As a consequence of Hsp90 cleavage, Hsp90-associated oncoproteins, such as receptor-interacting protein, Raf-1, AKT, and CDK4, were degraded in treated cancer cells, and key receptor tyrosine kinases such as vascular endothelial cell growth factor receptor-2 and Her-2 were degraded in treated HUVECs through a proteasomal system. Further results revealed that specific inhibitors of NQO1 and reactive oxygen species could dramatically reduce β-lap–mediated Hsp90 cleavage. In addition to its cytotoxicity, β-lap effectively inhibited angiogenesis by suppressing tube formation and the invasion of HUVECs in vitro, rat aortic microvascular sprouts ex vivo, and mouse corneal neovascularization in vivo. Furthermore, β-lap markedly suppressed the growth and angiogenesis of human lung cancer xenografts in nude mice and decreased the levels of receptor-interacting protein, AKT, CDK4, and CD31 in the solid tumors. Unlike other NQO1-dependent cytotoxic quinones, such as streptonigrin, menadione, mitomycin, and 17-allylamino-17-demethoxygeldanamycin, β-lap was the only agent that could cause Hsp90 cleavage. Taken together, our results suggest a crucial mechanism underlying the antitumor efficacy of β-lap.
- Received February 4, 2016.
- Accepted April 4, 2016.
Y.W. and X.W. contributed equally to this work.
This research was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China [Grant 81101683], the Science and Technology Commission of Shanghai Municipality [Grant 16ZR1410400], the National Basic Research Program of China [Grant 2012CB910401], the Fundamental Research Funds for the Central Universities [Grant 78260029], and the State Scholarship Council [Fellowship 201506145040].
- Copyright © 2016 by The American Society for Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics