Int J Biol Sci 2021; 17(8):1895-1908. doi:10.7150/ijbs.59855 This issue
School of Pharmacy, Sungkyunkwan University, Suwon 16419, Republic of Korea.
Ovarian cancer is a common cause of death among gynecological cancers. Although ovarian cancer initially responds to chemotherapy, frequent recurrence in patients remains a therapeutic challenge. Pyruvate kinase M2 (PKM2) plays a pivotal role in regulating cancer cell survival. However, its therapeutic role remains unclear. Here, we investigated the anticancer effects of compound 3K, a specific PKM2 inhibitor, on the regulation of autophagic and apoptotic pathways in SK-OV-3 (PKM2-overexpressing human ovarian adenocarcinoma cell line). The anticancer effect of compound 3K was examined using MTT and colony formation assays in SK-OV-3 cells. PKM2 expression was positively correlated with the severity of the tumor, and expression of pro-apoptotic proteins increased in SK-OV-3 cells following compound 3K treatment. Compound 3K induced AMPK activation, which was accompanied by mTOR inhibition. Additionally, this compound inhibited glycolysis, resulting in reduced proliferation of SK-OV-3 cells. Compound 3K treatment suppressed tumor progression in an in vivo xenograft model. Our findings suggest that the inhibition of PKM2 by compound 3K affected the Warburg effect and induced autophagic cell death. Therefore, use of specific PKM2 inhibitors to block the glycolytic pathway and target cancer cell metabolism represents a promising therapeutic approach for treating PKM2-overexpressing ovarian cancer.
Keywords: compound 3K, ovarian cancer, pyruvate kinase M2, autophagy, apoptosis