• Open Access

Glutathione S-transferase P1-1 as a target for mesothelioma treatment


To whom correspondence should be addressed.

E-mail: caccuri@uniroma2.it


Malignant pleural mesothelioma is a poorly responsive tumor known to overexpress the phase II detoxification enzyme glutathione-S-transferase, which catalyzes the conjugation between glutathione and platinum(II)-containing drugs. Therefore, we evaluated the effect of the strong glutathione S-transferase inhibitor NBDHEX on human mesothelioma cell lines (MSTO-211H, MPP89, MM-B1 and Mero 48a) featuring the most common mesothelioma phenotypes: epithelioid and biphasic. Even though a different response to NBDHEX was observed, the molecule was very effective on all cell lines tested, triggering a sustained activation of both JNK and p38, followed by caspase activation and apoptosis. NBDHEX also caused severe oxidative stress in the MPP89 cells and, to a lesser extent, in the MMB1 cells, while it did not cause a significant redox imbalance in the other cell lines. The efficacy of the drug was found to be comparable or even higher than that of cisplatin. Moreover, it showed synergistic or additive effects when used in combination with cisplatin. In conclusion, NBDHEX was effective on mesothelioma cell lines, with IC50 values in the low micromolar range (IC50 between 1 and 4 μM). These findings indicate that NBDHEX, alone or in combination with cisplatin, is a promising new strategy for treating this rare and aggressive malignancy.