Background: Ovarian cancer (OvCa) constitutes a rare and highly aggressive malignancy and is one of the most lethal of all gynaecologic neoplasms. Due to chemotherapy resistance and treatment limitations because of side effects, OvCa is still not sufficiently treatable. Hence, new drugs for OvCa therapy such as P8-D6 with promising antitumour properties have a high clinical need. The benzo[c]phenanthridine P8-D6 is an effective inductor of apoptosis by acting as a dual topoisomerase I/II inhibitor.
Methods: In the present study, the effectiveness of P8-D6 on OvCa was investigated in vitro. In various OvCa cell lines and ex vivo primary cells, the apoptosis induction compared to standard therapeutic agents was determined in 2D monolayers. Expanded by 3D and co-culture, the P8-D6 treated cells were examined for changes in cytotoxicity, apoptosis rate and membrane integrity via scanning electron microscopy (SEM). Likewise, the effects of P8-D6 on non-cancer human ovarian surface epithelial cells and primary human hepatocytes were determined.
Results: This study shows a significant P8-D6-induced increase in apoptosis and cytotoxicity in OvCa cells which surpasses the efficacy of standard therapeutic drugs. Non-cancer cells were affected only slightly by P8-D6. Moreover, no hepatotoxic effect in in vitro studies was detected.
Conclusions: P8-D6 is a strong and rapid inductor of apoptosis and might be a novel treatment option for OvCa therapy.