Effect of mitochondrial uncouplers niclosamide ethanolamine (NEN) and oxyclozanide on hepatic metastasis of colon cancer article

Amer Alasadi, Michael Chen, G. V.T. Swapna, Hanlin Tao, Jingjing Guo, Juan Collantes, Noor Fadhil, Gaetano T. Montelione, Shengkan Jin

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56 Scopus citations


Metabolism of cancer cells is characterized by aerobic glycolysis, or the Warburg effect. Aerobic glycolysis reduces pyruvate flux into mitochondria, preventing a complete oxidation of glucose and shunting glucose to anabolic pathways essential for cell proliferation. Here we tested a new strategy, mitochondrial uncoupling, for its potential of antagonizing the anabolic effect of aerobic glycolysis and for its potential anticancer activities. Mitochondrial uncoupling is a process that facilitates proton influx across the mitochondrial inner membrane without generating ATP, stimulating a futile cycle of acetyl- CoA oxidation. We tested two safe mitochondrial uncouplers, NEN (niclosamide ethanolamine) and oxyclozanide, on their metabolic effects and anti-cancer activities. We used metabolomic NMR to examine the effect of mitochondrial uncoupling on glucose metabolism in colon cancer MC38 cells. We further tested the anti-cancer effect of NEN and oxyclozanide in cultured cell models, APCmin/+ mouse model, and a metastatic colon cancer mouse model. Using a metabolomic NMR approach, we demonstrated that mitochondrial uncoupling promotes pyruvate influx to mitochondria and reduces various anabolic pathway activities. Moreover, mitochondrial uncoupling inhibits cell proliferation and reduces clonogenicity of cultured colon cancer cells. Furthermore, oral treatment with mitochondrial uncouplers reduces intestinal polyp formation in APCmin/+ mice, and diminishes hepatic metastasis of colon cancer cells transplanted intrasplenically. Our data highlight a unique approach for targeting cancer cell metabolism for cancer prevention and treatment, identified two prototype compounds, and shed light on the anti-cancer mechanism of niclosamide.

Original languageEnglish
Article number215
JournalCell Death and Disease
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1 Feb 2018
Externally publishedYes


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