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1.  Labeling of Oxidizable Proteins with a Photoactivatable Analog of the Antitumor Agent DMXAA: Evidence for Redox Signaling in Its Mode of Action12 
Neoplasia (New York, N.Y.)  2010;12(9):755-765.
The signaling pathway(s) and molecular target(s) for 5,6-dimethylxanthenone-4-acetic acid (DMXAA), a tumor vascular disrupting agent in late stages of clinical development, are still undefined. As an approach toward identifying potential targets for DMXAA, a tritiated azido-analog of DMXAA was used to probe for cellular binding proteins. More than 20 cytosolic proteins from murine splenocytes, RAW 264.7 cells, and the HECPP immortalized endothelial cells were photoaffinity-labeled. Although no protein domain, fold, or binding site for a specific ligand was found to be shared by all the candidate proteins, essentially all were noted to be oxidizable proteins, implicating a role for redox signaling in the action of DMXAA. Consistent with this hypothesis, DMXAA caused an increase in concentrations of reactive oxygen species (ROS) in RAW264.7 cells during the first 2 hours. This increase in ROS was suppressed in the presence of the antioxidant, N-acetyl-l-cysteine, which also suppressed DMXAA-induced cytokine production in the RAW 264.7 cells with no effects on cell viability. Short interfering RNA (siRNA)-mediated knockdown of one of the photoaffinity-labeled proteins, superoxide dismutase 1, an ROS scavenger, resulted in an increase in tumor necrosis factor-α production by RAW 264.7 cells in response to DMXAA compared with negative or positive controls transfected with nontargeting or lamin A/C-targeting siRNA molecules, respectively. The results from these lines of study all suggest that redox signaling plays a central role in cytokine induction by DMXAA.
PMCID: PMC2933696  PMID: 20824052
2.  Neutrophil Influx and Chemokine Production during the Early Phases of the Antitumor Response to the Vascular Disrupting Agent DMXAA (ASA404)1 
Neoplasia (New York, N.Y.)  2009;11(8):793-803.
5,6-Dimethylxanthenone-4-acetic acid (DMXAA) acts through tumor vascular disruption and cytokine production and is the first of its class to enter phase 3 trials. We characterized leukocytes and cytokines in murine Colon 38 tumors before and after DMXAA treatment. Tumor mass declined 50% 24 hours after DMXAA administration, but the leukocyte count per gram of tumor increased threefold owing to a large influx of Ly6G+CD11b+F4/80- cells with the morphology of neutrophils. However, B and T lymphocytes, natural killer cells, and macrophages in the tumor all decreased in numbers. Seven chemokines were substantially induced in the tumor, spleen, and serum 4 hours after DMXAA administration. Using cultured spleen cell subpopulations, CD11b+ cells (largely monocytes and macrophages) were shown to be the primary producers of tumor necrosis factor α, interleukin 6 (IL-6), and macrophage inflammatory 1α (MIP-1α). CD49b+ natural killer cells produced IP-10, whereas CD45R+ B lymphocytes produced regulated upon activation normal T cell express sequence. T lymphocytes were not major producers of cytokines in the response to DMXAA. Murine peripheral blood leukocytes (PBLs) produced a similar panel of cytokines in culture to that detected in mouse serum after DMXAA treatment. Cytokines in human PBL cultures were subsequently measured with the aim of identifying potential serum markers of the human response to DMXAA. IP-10 (P < .001), monocyte chemoattractant protein 1 (P < .001), and sCD40L (P < .01) were decreased, whereas IL-8 (P < .001) and MIP-1α (P = .03) were increased in DMXAA-treated compared with untreated PBL cultures from a group of 12 donors.
PMCID: PMC2713591  PMID: 19649209
3.  Activation of Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinases by 5, 6-Dimethylxanthenone-4-Acetic Acid (DMXAA) Plays an Important Role in Macrophage Stimulation 
Biochemical pharmacology  2011;82(9):1175-1185.
The small molecule anti-tumor agent, 5, 6-dimethylxanthenone-4-acetic acid (DMXAA, now called Vadimezan) is a potent macrophage and dendritic cell activating agent that, in the murine system, results in the release of large amounts of cytokines and chemokines. The mechanisms by which this release is mediated have not been fully elucidated. The mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) pathways plays an important role in the regulation of proinflammatory cytokines, such as, TNFα, IL-1β, as well as the responses to extracellular stimuli, such as, lipopolysaccharide (LPS). The results of this study demonstrate that DMXAA activates three members of mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) superfamily, namely p38 MAPK, extracellular signal-regulated kinases 1 and 2 (ERK1 and ERK2), and c-Jun N-terminal kinases (JNKs) via a RIP2-independent mechanism in murine macrophages. By using selective inhibitors of MAPKs, this study confirms that both activated p38/MK2 pathways and ERK1/2 MAPK play a significant role in regulation of both TNF-α and IL-6 protein production induced by DMXAA at the post-transcriptional level. Our findings also show that Interferon-γ priming can dramatically augment TNF-α protein secretion induced by DMXAA through enhancing activation of multiple MAPKs pathways at the post-transcriptional level. This study expands current knowledge on mechanisms of how DMXAA acts as a potent anti-tumor agent in murine system and also provides useful information for further study on the mechanism of action of this potential anti-tumor compound in human macrophages.
PMCID: PMC3191304  PMID: 21819972
MAPK; post-transcriptional regulation; TNFα; DMXAA; proinflammatory cytokines
4.  The chemotherapeutic agent DMXAA potently and specifically activates the TBK1–IRF-3 signaling axis 
The Journal of Experimental Medicine  2007;204(7):1559-1569.
Vascular disrupting agents (VDAs) represent a novel approach to the treatment of cancer, resulting in the collapse of tumor vasculature and tumor death. 5,6-dimethylxanthenone-4-acetic acid (DMXAA) is a VDA currently in advanced phase II clinical trials, yet its precise mechanism of action is unknown despite extensive preclinical and clinical investigations. Our data demonstrate that DMXAA is a novel and specific activator of the TANK-binding kinase 1 (TBK1)–interferon (IFN) regulatory factor 3 (IRF-3) signaling pathway. DMXAA treatment of primary mouse macrophages resulted in robust IRF-3 activation and ∼750-fold increase in IFN-β mRNA, and in contrast to the potent Toll-like receptor 4 (TLR4) agonist lipopolysaccharide (LPS), signaling was independent of mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) activation and elicited minimal nuclear factor κB–dependent gene expression. DMXAA-induced signaling was critically dependent on the IRF-3 kinase, TBK1, and IRF-3 but was myeloid differentiation factor 88–, Toll–interleukin 1 receptor domain–containing adaptor inducing IFN-β–, IFN promoter-stimulator 1–, and inhibitor of κB kinase–independent, thus excluding all known TLRs and cytosolic helicase receptors. DMXAA pretreatment of mouse macrophages induced a state of tolerance to LPS and vice versa. In contrast to LPS stimulation, DMXAA-induced IRF-3 dimerization and IFN-β expression were inhibited by salicylic acid. These findings detail a novel pathway for TBK1-mediated IRF-3 activation and provide new insights into the mechanism of this new class of chemotherapeutic drugs.
PMCID: PMC2118649  PMID: 17562815

Results 1-4 (4)