Different molecular mechanisms contribute to the development of multidrug resistance in cancer, including increased drug efflux, enhanced cellular repair mechanisms and alterations of drug metabolism or drug targets. ABCG2 is a member of the ATP-binding cassette superfamily transporters that promotes drug efflux, inducing chemotherapeutic resistance in malignant cells. In this context, the development of selective ABCG2 inhibitors might be a suitable strategy to improve chemotherapy efficacy. Thus, through a multidisciplinary approach, we identified a new ABCG2 selective inhibitor (8), highlighting its ability to increase mitoxantrone cytotoxicity in both hepatocellular carcinoma (EC50from 8.67 ± 2.65 to 1.25 ± 0.80 μM) and transfected breast cancer cell lines (EC50from 9.92 ± 2.32 to 2.45 ± 1.40 μM). Moreover, mitoxantrone co-administration in both transfected and non-transfected HEK293 revealed that compound 8 notably lowered the mitoxantrone EC50, demonstrating its efficacy along with the importance of the ABCG2 extrusion pump overexpression in MDR reversion. These results were corroborated by evaluating the effect of inhibitor 8 on mitoxantrone cell uptake in multicellular tumor spheroids and via proteomic experiments.
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