Glioblastoma multiforme is a devastating and intractable type of cancer. Current antineoplastic drugs do not improve the median survival of patients diagnosed with glioblastoma multiforme beyond 14 to 15 months, in part because the blood–brain barrier is generally impermeable to many therapeutic agents. Drugs that target microtubules (MT) have shown remarkable efficacy in a variety of cancers, yet their use as glioblastoma multiforme treatments has also been hindered by the scarcity of brain-penetrant MT-targeting compounds. We have discovered a new alkylindole compound, ST-11, that acts directly on MTs and rapidly attenuates their rate of assembly. Accordingly, ST-11 arrests glioblastoma multiforme cells in prometaphase and triggers apoptosis. In vivo analyses reveal that unlike current antitubulin agents, ST-11 readily crosses the blood–brain barrier. Further investigation in a syngeneic orthotopic mouse model of glioblastoma multiforme shows that ST-11 activates caspase-3 in tumors to reduce tumor volume without overt toxicity. Thus, ST-11 represents the first member of a new class of brain-penetrant antitubulin therapeutic agents. Mol Cancer Ther; 15(9); 2018–29. ©2016 AACR.
This article is featured in Highlights of This Issue, p. 2009
Note: Supplementary data for this article are available at Molecular Cancer Therapeutics Online (http://mct.aacrjournals.org/).
- Received October 19, 2015.
- Revision received May 18, 2016.
- Accepted June 4, 2016.
- ©2016 American Association for Cancer Research.