›› 2019, Vol. 39 ›› Issue (12): 1345-.doi: 10.3969/j.issn.1674-8115.2019.12.001

• Outstanding international article • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Selective killing of cancer cellsnonplanar aromatic hydrocarbon-induced DNA damage

The research group of LIU Pei-feng   

  • Online:2019-12-28 Published:2020-02-06

Abstract: A large number of current chemotherapeutic agents prevent the growth of tumorsinhibiting DNA synthesis of cancer cells. It has been found recently that many planar polycyclic aromatichydrocarbons (PAHs) derivatives, previously known as carcinogenic, display anticancer activity through DNA cross-linking. However, the practical of these PAHs is substantially limitedtheir low therapeutic efficiency and selectivity toward most tumors. Herein, the anticancer property of a nonplanar PAH named [4]helicenium, which exhibits highly selective cytotoxicity toward liver, lung cancer, and leukemia cells compared with normal cells, is reported. Moreover, [4]helicenium effectively inhibits tumor growth in liver cancer-bearing mice and shows little side effects in normal mice. RNA sequencing and confirmatory results demonstrate that [4]helicenium induces more DNA damage in tumor cells than in normal cells, resulting in tumor cell cycle arrest and apoptosis increment. This study reveals an unexpected role and molecular mechanism for PAHs in selectively killing tumor cells and provides an effective strategy for precision cancer therapies.