Polyether ionophore salinomycin (SAL) and its semi-synthetic derivatives are recognized as very promising anticancer drug candidates due to their activity against various types of cancer cells, including multidrug-resistant populations. Ovarian cancer is the deadliest among gynecologic malignancies, which is connected with the development of chemoresistant forms of the disease in over 70% of patients after initial treatment regimen. Thus, we decided to examine the anticancer properties of SAL and selected SAL derivatives against a series of drug-sensitive (A2780, SK-OV-3) and derived drug-resistant (A2780 CDDP, SK-OV-3 CDDP) ovarian cancer cell lines. Although SAL analogs showed less promising IC values than SAL, they were identified as the antitumor agents that significantly overcome the resistance to platinum-based drugs in ovarian cancer, more potent than unmodified SAL and commonly used anticancer drugs-5-fluorouracil, gemcitabine, and cisplatin. Moreover, when compared with SAL used alone, our experiments proved for the first time increased selectivity of SAL-based dual therapy with 5-fluorouracil or gemcitabine, especially towards A2780 cell line. Looking closer at the results, SAL acted synergistically with 5-fluorouracil towards the drug-resistant A2780 cell line. Our results suggest that combinations of SAL with other antineoplastics may become a new therapeutic option for patients with ovarian cancer.
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