Cytotoxic Activity of the Histone Deacetylase 3-Selective Inhibitor Pojamide on MDA-MB-231 Triple-Negative Breast Cancer Cells

Claudio Luparello, Fabio Caradonna, Ilenia Cruciata, Supojjanee Sansook, John Spencer, Storm Hassell-Hart

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


We examined the effects of the ferrocene-based histone deacetylase-3 inhibitor Pojamide (N¹-(2-aminophenyl)-N⁸-ferrocenyloctanediamide) and its two derivatives N¹-(2-aminophenyl)-N⁶-ferrocenyladipamide and N¹-(2-aminophenyl)-N⁸-ferroceniumoctanediamide tetrafluoroborate on triple-negative MDA-MB-231 breast cancer cells. Viability/growth assays indicated that only the first two compounds at 70 μM concentration caused an approximate halving of cell number after 24 h of exposure, whereas the tetrafluoroborate derivative exerted no effect on cell survival nor proliferation. Flow cytometric and protein blot analyses were performed on cells exposed to both Pojamide and the ferrocenyladipamide derivative to evaluate cell cycle distribution, apoptosis/autophagy modulation, and mitochondrial metabolic state in order to assess the cellular basis of the cytotoxic effect. The data obtained show that the cytotoxic effect of the two deacetylase inhibitors may be ascribed to the onset of non-apoptotic cell death conceivably linked to a down-regulation of autophagic processes and an impairment of mitochondrial function with an increase in intracellular reactive oxygen species. Our work expands the list of autophagy-regulating drugs and also provides a further example of the role played by the inhibition of autophagy in breast cancer cell death. Moreover, the compounds studied may represent attractive and promising targets for subsequent molecular modeling for anti-neoplastic agents in malignant breast cancer.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)804-817
Number of pages14
JournalInternational Journal of Molecular Sciences
Publication statusPublished - 2019

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Catalysis
  • Molecular Biology
  • Spectroscopy
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Inorganic Chemistry


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