Breast cancer remains one of the leading cancers among women. Cancer stem cells (CSCs) are tumor-initiating cells which drive progression, metastasis, and reoccurrence of the disease. CSCs are resistant to conventional chemo- and radio-therapies and their ability to survive such treatment enables tumor reestablishment. Metastasis is the main cause of mortality in women with breast cancer, thus advances in treatment will depend on therapeutic strategies targeting CSCs. Salinomycin (SAL) is a naturally occurring polyether ionophore antibiotic known for its anticancer activity towards several types of tumor cells. In the present work, a library of 17 C1-single and C1/C20-double modified SAL analogs was screened to identify compounds with improved activity against breast CSCs. Six single- and two double-modified analogs were more potent (IC range of 1.1 ± 0.1-1.4 ± 0.2 µM) toward the breast cancer cell line MDA-MB-231 compared to SAL (IC of 4.9 ± 1.6 µM). Double-modified compound 17 was found to be more efficacious than SAL against the majority of cancer cell lines in the NCI-60 Human Tumor Cell Line Panel. Compound 17 was more potent than SAL in inhibiting cell migration and cell renewal properties of MDA-MB-231 cells, as well as inducing selective loss of the CD44/CD24 stem-cell-like subpopulation in both monolayer (2D) and organoid (3D) culture. The present findings highlight the therapeutic potential of SAL analogs towards breast CSCs and identify select compounds that merit further study and clinical development.
Copyright © 2021. Published by Elsevier Masson SAS.