Esophageal squamous cell carcinoma (ESCC) has a worldwide impact on human health, due to its high incidence and mortality. Therefore, identifying compounds to increase patients' survival rate is urgently needed. Mefloquine (MQ) is an FDA-approved anti-malarial drug, which has been reported to inhibit cellular proliferation in several cancers. However, the anti-tumor activities of the drug have not yet been completely defined. In this study, mass spectrometry was employed to profile proteome changes in ESCC cells after MQ treatment. Sub-cellular localization and gene ontology term enrichment analysis suggested that MQ treatment mainly affect mitochondria. The KEGG pathway enrichment map of down-regulated pathways and Venn diagram indicated that all of the top five down regulated signaling pathways contain four key mitochondrial proteins (succinate dehydrogenase complex subunit C (SDHC), succinate dehydrogenase complex subunit D, mitochondrially encoded cytochrome c oxidase III and NADH: ubiquinone oxidoreductase subunit V3). Meanwhile, mitochondrial autophagy was observed in MQ-treated KYSE150 cells. More importantly, patient-derived xenograft mouse models of ESCC with SDHC high expression were more sensitive to MQ treatment than low SDHC-expressing xenografts. Taken together, mefloquine inhibits ESCC tumor growth by inducing mitochondrial autophagy and SDHC plays a vital role in MQ-induced anti-tumor effect on ESCC.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This research was funded by the National Natural Science Foundations of China (grant number 81872335), National Natural Science Youth Foundation (grant number 81902486), National Science & Technology Major Project Key New Drug Creation and Manufacturing Program, China (No. 2018ZX09711002), the Natural Science Foundation of Henan (grant number 161100510300), and China Scholarship Council.
- esophageal squamous cell carcinoma (ESCC)
- mefloquine (MQ)
- succinate dehydrogenase complex subunit C (SDHC)