Article Abstract

Drug screening to target nuclear orphan receptor NR4A2 for cancer therapeutics

Authors: Takefumi Komiya, Satomi Yamamoto, Anuradha Roy, Peter McDonald, Raymond P. Perez


Background: Our previous study suggested NR4A2, a subfamily member of orphan nuclear receptors, is essential for survival of human cancer cells such as mucoepidermoid carcinoma (MEC).
Methods: We conducted high throughput drug screening for NR4A2 inhibitors as a novel therapeutic modality. Positive screening was performed using a luciferase reporter vector containing NR4A2 binding sequence, and a CRE-reporter control vector was used to eliminate false positives. In vitro assays for positive hits were conducted.
Results: A total of 23 Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and 43 Life Science Library compounds were identified, including several epidermal growth factor inhibitors and Src inhibitors. Subsequent in vitro assays confirmed that identified compounds were preferentially active in NR4A2+ cancer cells. Several candidate compounds appeared to suppress NR4A2 via inhibition of p-ERK, whereas a novel compound KU0171309 may act as a more direct inhibitor.
Conclusions: Further research should focus on homologue selectivity, in vivo activity, and definitively deciphering the mechanism of action of KU0171309.