A rhodium(III)-based complex has been discovered as an inhibitor of KDM5A, an epigenetic target for triple-negative breast cancer. The complex inhibited the KDM5A–H3K4me3 interaction and suppressed proliferation of triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) tumors in mice and may be used as a novel scaffold for further development of more potent epigenetic agents against cancers, including TNBC.
Lysine-specific demethylase 5A (KDM5A) has recently become a promising target for epigenetic therapy. In this study, we designed and synthesized metal complexes bearing ligands with reported demethylase and p27 modulating activities. The Rh(III) complex 1 was identified as a direct, selective and potent inhibitor of KDM5A that directly abrogate KDM5A demethylase activity via antagonizing the KDM5A-tri-/di-methylated histone 3 protein–protein interaction (PPI) in vitro and in cellulo. Complex 1 induced accumulation of H3K4me3 and H3K4me2 levels in cells, causing growth arrest at G1 phase in the triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) cell lines, MDA-MB-231 and 4T1. Finally, 1 exhibited potent anti-tumor activity against TNBC xenografts in an in vivo mouse model, presumably via targeting of KDM5A and hence upregulating p27. Moreover, complex 1 was less toxic compared with two clinical drugs, cisplatin and doxorubicin. To our knowledge, complex 1 is the first metal-based KDM5A inhibitor reported in the literature. We anticipate that complex 1 may be used as a novel scaffold for the further development of more potent epigenetic agents against cancers, including TNBC.
Scopus Subject Areas
- drug discovery
- medicinal chemistry
- triple-negative breast cancer