Drug-repositioning screens identify Triamterene as a selective drug for the treatment of DNA Mismatch Repair deficient cells.
Clin Cancer Res
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PURPOSE: The DNA Mismatch repair (MMR) pathway is required for the maintenance of genome stability. Unsurprisingly, mutations in MMR genes occur in a wide range of different cancers. Studies thus far have largely focused on specific tumor types or MMR mutations, however it is becoming increasingly clear that a therapy targeting MMR-deficiency in general would be clinically very beneficial. EXPERIMENTAL DESIGN: Based on a drug-repositioning approach, we screened a large panel of cell lines with various MMR deficiencies from a range of different tumor types with a compound drug library of previously approved drugs. We have identified the potassium-sparing diuretic drug Triamterene, as a novel sensitizing agent in MMR-deficient tumor cells, in vitro and in vivo. RESULTS: The selective tumor cell cytotoxicity of Triamterene occurs through its antifolate activity, and depends on the activity of the folate synthesis enzyme, thymidylate synthase. Triamterene leads to a thymidylate synthase-dependent differential increase in reactive oxygen species in MMR-deficient cells, ultimately resulting in an increase in DNA double strand breaks. CONCLUSION: Conclusively, our data reveal a new drug repurposing and novel therapeutic strategy that has potential for the treatment of MMR-deficiency in a range of different tumor types and could significantly improve patient survival.