Original Article

Development of a K562 cell-based assay for screening anticancer agents

Authors: Jing Qian, Cai-Hong Zhou, Zhen Qian, Fa-Jun Nan, Qi-Zhuang Ye


Aim: To develop a leukemia cell line K562-based assay for high-throughput screening.
Methods: The screening was carried out on 96-well plates with monitoring cell proliferation by a combined 3-[4,5-dimethylthiazol-2-yl]-5-[3-carboxymethoxyphenyl]-2-[4-sulfophenyl]-2H-tetrazolium (MTS)/phenazine methosulfate (PMS) method. Conditions for evaluating effects on the proliferation of K562 cells by individual compounds on the 96-well plates were optimized.
Results: A set of 800 small organic compounds was screened for anticancer activity by this cell-based assay, with consumption of each compound at 500 ng. Eleven compounds were identified with >80 % inhibitory activity at 5 mg/L, among which 9 compounds were confirmed by subsequent testing at multiple concentrations. The most potent compound showed an IC50 at 170 nmol/L, and there were total of 7 compounds showed IC50 less than 10 micromol/L.
Conclusion: The high-throughput method using K562 cell line is fast, economical, effective, and practical in identifying inhibitors as potential therapeutic agents for cancer.

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