Perhexiline Demonstrates FYN-mediated Antitumor Activity in Glioblastoma

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Molecular cancer therapeutics


©2020 American Association for Cancer Research. Glioblastoma is the most common primary malignant brain tumor in adults. Despite aggressive treatment, outcomes remain poor with few long-term survivors. Therefore, considerable effort is being made to identify novel therapies for this malignancy. Targeting tumor metabolism represents a promising therapeutic strategy and activation of fatty acid oxidation (FAO) has been identified as a central metabolic node contributing toward gliomagenesis. Perhexiline is a compound with a long clinical track record in angina treatment and commonly described as an FAO inhibitor. We therefore sought to determine whether this compound might be repurposed to serve as a novel therapy in glioblastoma. Perhexiline demonstrated potent in vitro cytotoxicity, induction of redox stress and apoptosis in a panel of glioblastoma cell lines. However, the antitumor activity of perhexiline was distinct when compared with the established FAO inhibitor etomoxir. By evaluating mitochondrial respiration and lipid dynamics in glioblastoma cells following treatment with perhexiline, we confirmed this compound did not inhibit FAO in our models. Using in silico approaches, we identified FYN as a probable target of perhexiline and validated the role of this protein in perhexiline sensitivity. We extended studies to patient samples, validating the potential of FYN to serve as therapeutic target in glioma. When evaluated in vivo, perhexiline demonstrated the capacity to cross the blood-brain barrier and antitumor activity in both flank and orthotopic glioblastoma models. Collectively, we identified potent FYN-dependent antitumor activity of perhexiline in glioblastoma, thereby, representing a promising agent to be repurposed for the treatment of this devastating malignancy.





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