DCZ5248, a novel dual inhibitor of Hsp90 and autophagy, exerts antitumor activity against colon cancer

Xiang-ling Chen1,2, Peng Liu1, Wei-liang Zhu1,2, Li-guang Lou1,2
1 Shanghai Institute of Materia Medica, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Shanghai 201203, China
2 University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China
Correspondence to: Li-guang Lou:,
DOI: 10.1038/s41401-020-0398-2
Received: 10 December 2019
Accepted: 15 March 2020
Advance online: 13 May 2020


Hsp90 is a potential therapeutic target for tumor, as it maintains the stability of a variety of proteins related to tumor development and progression. Autophagy is a self-degradation process to maintain cellular homeostasis and autophagy inhibitors can suppress tumor growth. In this study, we identified DCZ5248, a triazine derivative, was a dual inhibitor of both Hsp90 and late-autophagy with potent antitumor activity against colon cancer cells in vitro and in vivo. We showed that DCZ5248 (0.1–10 μM) induced dose- dependent degradation of Hsp90 client proteins (AKT, CDK4, CDK6 and RAF-1) in HCT 116 colon cancer cells through a proteasome- dependent pathway. Meanwhile, DCZ5248 (0.3 μM) induced cytoplasmic vacuole formation, LC3 II conversion, p62 protein upregulation, and inhibited autophagy at the late stage in the colon cancer cell lines tested. We further revealed that the inhibition of autophagy was achieved by impairing lysosomal functions through induction of lysosomal acidification and attenuation of lysosomal cathepsin activity. The modulation of autophagy by DCZ5248 was independent of Hsp90 inhibition as the autophagy inhibition was not blocked by Hsp90 knockdown. Importantly, inhibition of both Hsp90 function and autophagy by DCZ5248 induced G1-phase cell cycle arrest, apoptosis, and exerted potent antitumor activity against colon cancer cells both in vitro and in vivo. These findings demonstrate that DCZ5248 is a novel dual inhibitor of Hsp90 and autophagy with potential for colon cancer therapy.
Keywords: DCZ5248; Hsp90; autophagy; lysosomal function; antitumor activity; colon cancer

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