Cell Death Dis. 2020 Oct 13;11(10):848. doi: 10.1038/s41419-020-03065-w.
Peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma (PPARγ) is a well-known therapeutic target for type 2 diabetes as well as is a potential target for effective anti-cancer drug, since PPARγ ligands such as ciglitazone (Cig) frequently cause cell death in many types of cancer cells and suppress tumor growth. However, many cancer patients acquire chemo-resistance or radio-resistance after chemo or radiotherapy, and it is still unclear. In the difficulty of well-known anti-cancer drugs, we developed a novel PPARγ agonist CB13 (1-benzyl-5-(4-methylphenyl) pyrido [2,3-d]pyrimidine-2,4(1H,3H)-dione) and investigated the anti-cancer effect and cell death mechanism on human non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) cells. With anti-cancer effect of Cig, CB13 also causes inhibition of cell growth by decreasing cell viability, increasing the release of LDH, and increasing caspase-3, and caspase-9 activities. CB13 generates reactive oxygen species (ROS) and causes cell death via ER stress in NSCLC and radio-resistant NSCLC cells (A549R and H460R), and a combination of CB13 and radiation induces greater ER stress and cell death when compared to CB13 alone. Taken together, our results suggest that a combination of CB13 and radiation may overcome radio-resistance caused by radiotherapy.