Discovery and characterization of dual inhibitors of MDM2 and NFAT1 for pancreatic cancer therapy

Academic Article


  • Overexpression and activation of the murine double minute 2 (MDM2) or nuclear factor of activated T cells 1 (NFAT1) oncoproteins frequently occur in pancreatic cancer. Most MDM2 inhibitors under development target MDM2-p53 binding and have little or no effect on cancers without functional p53, including pancreatic cancer. Some available compounds indirectly inhibit NFAT1 activity by interfering with calcineurin activity, but there are currently no specific inhibitors against NFAT1. Here we performed a high-throughput virtual and cell-based screening to yield a lead compound (MA242) that can directly bind both MDM2 and NFAT1 with high affinity, induce their protein degradation, and inhibit NFAT1-mediated transcription of MDM2. As a result of this binding, MA242 decreased cell proliferation and induced apoptosis in pancreatic cancer cell lines regardless of p53 status. MA242 alone or in combination with gemcitabine inhibited pancreatic tumor growth and metastasis without any host toxicity. Our data indicate that targeting both MDM2 and NFAT1 represents a novel and effective strategy to treat pancreatic cancer.
  • Published In

  • Cancer Research  Journal
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Wang W; Qin JJ; Voruganti S; Nijampatnam B; Velu SE; Ruan KH; Hu M; Zhou J; Zhang R
  • Start Page

  • 5656
  • End Page

  • 5667
  • Volume

  • 78
  • Issue

  • 19