Aminoflavone induces oxidative DNA damage and reactive oxidative species-mediated apoptosis in breast cancer cells

Lancelot McLean, Ubaldo Soto, Keli Agama, Jawad Francis, Randi Jimenez, Yves Pommier, Lawrence Sowers, Eileen Brantley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

75 Scopus citations


Aminoflavone (5-amino-2-(4-amino-3-fluorophenyl)-6,8-difluoro-7- methylchromen-4-one; AF; NSC 686288), a novel anticancer candidate agent, is undergoing clinical evaluation. AF induces DNA-protein cross-links (DPCs), γ-H2AX phosphorylation, aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AhR) signaling, apoptosis and its own metabolism via cytochrome P4501A1 and 1A2 (CYP1A1/1A2) activation in sensitive estrogen receptor positive (ER+) MCF7 breast cancer cells. Estrogen receptor negative (ER-) breast cancer is typically more aggressive with a poorer prognosis. In this investigation, we evaluated the ability of AF to induce reactive oxygen species (ROS) formation, oxidative DNA damage and apoptosis in ER- MDA-MB-468 breast cancer cells. The antioxidant, N-acetyl-L-cysteine (NAC), attenuated the cytotoxic effects of AF in MDA-MB-468 cells; an effect is also observed in ER+ T47D breast cancer cells. Nonmalignant MCF10A breast epithelial cells were resistant to the cytotoxic effects of AF. AF increased intracellular ROS, an effect blocked by NAC and the CYP1A1/1A2 inhibitor, α-Naphthoflavone (α-NF). AF induced oxidative DNA damage as evidenced by increased 8-oxo-7,8-dihydroguanine (8-oxodG) levels and DPC formation in these cells. AF caused S-phase arrest corresponding to an increase in p21(waf1/cip1) protein expression. AF induced caspase 3, 8 and 9 activation, caspase-dependent apoptotic body formation and poly [ADP-ribose] polymerase (PARP) cleavage. Pretreatment with the pan-caspase inhibitor, benzyloxy-carbonyl-Val-Ala-DL-Asp(OMe)-fluoromethylketone inhibited apoptosis and partially inhibited ROS formation and oxidative DNA damage. Pretreatment with NAC attenuated AF-induced apoptotic body formation and caspase 3 activation. These studies suggest AF inhibits the growth of breast cancer cells in part, by inducing ROS production, oxidative DNA damage and apoptosis and has the potential to treat hormone-independent breast cancer.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1665-1674
Number of pages10
JournalInternational Journal of Cancer
Issue number7
StatePublished - Apr 1 2008
Externally publishedYes


  • Aminoflavone
  • Apoptosis
  • Breast cancer
  • DNA damage
  • Oxidative stress

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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