Mitoxantrone targets the ATP-binding site of FAK, binds the FAK kinase domain and decreases FAK, Pyk-2, c-Src, and IGF-1R in vitro kinase activities.
Focal Adhesion Kinase (FAK) is a non-receptor kinase that is overexpressed in many types of tumors and plays a key role in cell adhesion, spreading, motility, proliferation, invasion, angiogenesis, and survival. Recently, FAK has been proposed as a target for cancer therapy, and we performed computer modeling and screening of the National Cancer Institute (NCI) small molecule compounds database to target the ATP-binding site of FAK, K454. More than 140,000 small molecule compounds were docked into the crystal structure of the kinase domain of FAK in 100 different orientations using DOCK5.1 that identified small molecule compounds, targeting the K454 site, called A-compounds. To find the therapeutic efficacy of these compounds, we examined the effect of twenty small molecule compounds on cell viability by MTT assays in different cancer cell lines. One compound, A18 (1,4-bis(diethylamino)-5,8- dihydroxy anthraquinon) was a mitoxantrone derivative and significantly decreased viability in most of the cells comparable to the to the level of FAK kinase inhibitors TAE-226 (Novartis, Inc) and PF-573,228 (Pfizer). The A18 compound specifically blocked autophosphorylation of FAK like TAE-226 and PF-228. ForteBio Octet Binding assay demonstrated that mitoxantrone (1,4-dihydroxy- 5,8-bis[2-(2-hydroxyethylamino) ethylamino] anthracene-9,10-dione directly binds the FAK-kinase domain. In addition, mitoxantrone significantly decreased the viability of breast cancer cells in a dose-dependent manner and inhibited the kinase activity of FAK and Y56/577 FAK phosphorylation at 10-20 ?M. Mitoxantrone did not affect phosphorylation of EGFR, but decreased Pyk-2, c-Src, and IGF-1R kinase activities. The data demonstrate that mitoxantrone decreases cancer viability, binds FAK-Kinase domain, inhibits its kinase activity, and also inhibits in vitro kinase activities of Pyk-2 and IGF-1R. Thus, this novel function of the mitoxantrone drug can be critical for future development of anti-cancer agents and FAK-targeted therapy research.