Inhibition of Sp1-dependent transcription and antitumor activity of the new aureolic acid analogues mithramycin SDK and SK in human ovarian cancer xenografts

Sara Previdi, Anastasia Malek, Veronica Albertini, Cristina Riva, Carlo Capella, Massimo Broggini, Giuseppina M. Carbone, Jurgen Rohr, Carlo V. Catapano

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

56 Scopus citations


Objective. Increased activity of Sp family of transcription factors is a frequent and critical event in cancer development and progression. Genes governing tumor growth, invasion and angiogenesis are regulated by Sp factors, like Sp1, Sp3 or Sp4, and are frequently over-expressed in tumors. Targeting Sp factors has been explored as a therapeutic approach. Mithramycin (MTM) is a natural antibiotic that binds DNA and inhibit Sp1-dependent transcription. New analogues, named MTM-SDK and MTM-SK, were recently obtained by genetic engineering of the MTM biosynthetic pathway and have demonstrated improved transcriptional and antiprolifer ative activity in ovarian cancer cell lines in vitro. In the present study we evaluated the activity of the new compounds in human ovarian cancer xenografts. Methods. Expression of Sp1 and target proteins in ovarian cancer specimens and tumor xenografts was assessed by immunohistochemistry. Drug-induced silencing of Sp1-regulated genes in cells and tumor xenograft samples was assessed by quantitative RT-PCR. Toxicity and antitumor activity of the compounds were investigated in healthy and tumor-bearing immunocompromised mice, respectively. Results. Expression of Sp1 was frequently increased in human epithelial ovarian cancers. MTM-SDK and MTM-SK acted as potent inhibitors of Sp1-dependent transcription both in vitro and in tumor xenografts. Both compounds were well tolerated even after prolonged administration and delayed growth of ovarian tumor xenografts. MTM-SDK was particularly effective against orthotopic tumors leading to a significant increase of survival and delay of tumor progression. Conclusions. MTM-SDK and MTM-SK show relevant activity in vivo and represent interesting candidates for treatment of ovarian cancers.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)182-188
Number of pages7
JournalGynecologic Oncology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Aug 1 2010

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by grants from the Ticino Foundation for Cancer Research (to C.V.C.), the National Institutes of Health ( R01 CA091901-06A1 to J.R.) and the Fondazione Nerina e Mario Mattioli (to S.P. and M.B.).


  • Aurelic acid antibiotics
  • Mithramycin
  • Ovarian cancer
  • Sp1
  • Transcription factors

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology


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