Repurposing the Antipsychotic Trifluoperazine as an Antimetastasis Agent

  • Pulkoski-Gross A
  • Li J
  • Zheng C
 et al. 
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Because cancer cell invasion is a critical determinant of metastasis, targeting invasion is a viable approach to prevent metastasis. Utilizing a novel three-dimensional high-throughput invasion assay, we screened a National Cancer Institute compound library and discovered compounds demonstrating inhibitory effects on cancer cell invasion. One hit, trifluoperazine, suppresses invasion of human cancer cell lines while displaying a limited cytotoxicity profile. This inhibition is due to the interference with cancer cell migratory ability but not proteolytic activity. Treatment of cancer cells with trifluoperazine significantly reduces angiogenesis and prevents cancer cell invasion through a chorioallantoic basement membrane. Mechanistically, treatment results in decreased phosphorylated AKT (Ser(473) and Thr(308)) and β-catenin (Ser(552)). Lack of phosphorylation of Ser(552) of β-catenin prevents β-catenin nuclear relocation, resulting in decreased expression of vascular endothelial growth factor, likely mediated through dopamine receptor D2. Taken together, we demonstrated that trifluoperazine is responsible for reducing the angiogenic and invasive potential of aggressive cancer cells through dopamine receptor D2 to modulate the β-catenin pathway and propose that trifluoperazine may be used as an antimetastasis chemotherapeutic.

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  • A. Pulkoski-Gross

  • J. Li

  • C. Zheng

  • Y. Li

  • N. Ouyang

  • B. Rigas

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