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Assessment of the cytotoxic effects of aporphine prototypes on head and neck cancer cells

Investigational New Drugs
Dorival Mendes Rodrigues-Junior, Nicolie Melanie de Almeida Pontes, Gabriela Estrela de Albuquerque, Viviane Carlin, Givago Prado Perecim, Cristiano Raminelli, André Luiz Vettore
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Purpose Among alkaloids, abundant secondary metabolites in plants, aporphines constitute a class of compounds with interesting biological activities, including anticancer effects. The present study evaluated the anticancer activities of 14 substances, including four aporphine derivatives acquired through the biomonitoring of (±)-apomorphine hydrochloride total synthesis from 2-phenethylamine and 3,4-dimethoxybenzaldehyde against head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC). Methods The cytotoxic effects of compounds against a panel of HNSCC cell lines were determined by PrestoBlue cell viability assay, while the genotoxicity of substances was evaluated by micronucleus test. Cell death was detected by flow cytometry (Annexin V/7AAD) and western blot analysis was used to detect the presence of cleaved Caspase-3 molecules. Results The aporphine and isoquinoline derivatives APO, C1, and A5 significantly reduced HNSCC cell viability and promoted DNA damages in these cells. Further, by activating the Caspase-3 pathway, these substances were able to induce apoptosis. Conclusion Our results revealed that APO, C1, and A5 exhibit cytotoxic effects in HNSCC cells. The mechanisms of action appear to be partly via the generation of DNA damages and apoptosis induction through Caspase-3 pathway activation. This study provides preclinical data that suggest a potential therapeutic role for APO, C1, and A5 against head and neck cancer cells.

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