Dual targeting of tumour cells and host endothelial cells by novel microtubule-targeting agents, pyrrolo-1,5-benzoxazepines

Seema-Maria Nathwani, Stephen Butler, Mary J Meegan, Giuseppe Campiani, Mark Lawler, D Clive Williams, Daniela M Zisterer, Mark Lawler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


PURPOSE: Some members of a novel series of pyrrolo-1,5-benzoxazepines (PBOXs) are microtubule-targeting agents capable of inducing apoptosis in a variety of human cancerous cells, hence, they are currently being developed as potential anti-cancer agents. The purpose of this study was to first characterise the activities of a novel PBOX analogue, PBOX-16 and then investigate the anti-angiogenic potential of both PBOX-16 and its prototype PBOX-6.

METHODS: The effects of PBOX-6 and -16 on cancerous cells (chronic myeloid leukaemia K562 cells and ovarian carcinoma A2780 cells) and primary cultured human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVECs) were examined by assessing cell proliferation, microtubular organisation, DNA analysis of cell cycle progression and caspase-3/7 activity. Their anti-angiogenic properties were then investigated by examining their ability to interfere with HUVEC differentiation into capillary-like structures and vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF)-stimulated HUVEC migration.

RESULTS: PBOX-6 and -16 inhibited proliferation of K562, A2780 and HUVEC cells in a concentration-dependent manner. PBOX-16, confirmed as a novel depolymerising agent, was approximately tenfold more potent than PBOX-6. Inhibition of cell proliferation was mediated by G(2)/M arrest followed by varying degrees of apoptosis depending on the cell type; endothelial cells underwent less apoptosis than either of the cancer cell lines. In addition to the antitumourigenic properties, we also describe a novel antiangiogenic function for PBOXs: treatment with PBOXs inhibited the spontaneous differentiation of HUVECs into capillary-like structures when grown on a basement membrane matrix preparation (Matrigel™) and also significantly reduced VEGF-stimulated HUVEC migration.

CONCLUSION: Dual targeting of both the tumour cells and the host endothelial cells by PBOX compounds might enhance the anti-cancer efficacy of these drugs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)289-300
Number of pages12
JournalCancer Chemotherapy and Pharmacology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2010


  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Benzazepines
  • Carbamates
  • Caspase 3
  • Caspase 7
  • Cell Cycle
  • Cell Differentiation
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Cell Movement
  • Cell Proliferation
  • Drug Screening Assays, Antitumor
  • Endothelial Cells
  • Enzyme Activation
  • Humans
  • Microtubules
  • Oxazepines
  • Pyrroles
  • Structure-Activity Relationship
  • Tubulin
  • Umbilical Veins


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