Quinacrine synergizes with 5-fluorouracil and other therapies in colorectal cancer

Jean Nicolas Gallant, Joshua E. Allen, Charles D. Smith, David T. Dicker, Wenge Wang, Nathan G. Dolloff, Arunasalam Navaraj, Wafik S. El-Deiry

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

38 Scopus citations


Although treatments have improved patient prognosis in surgically resectable colorectal cancer, new effective drugs with improved safety profiles are needed to improve the currently poor outcomes of patients with recurrent or metastatic colorectal cancer. Quinacrine, a small molecule anti-malarial agent that has activity in giardiasis, lupus, prion disease, and used as a means of non-surgical sterilization, has shown cytotoxic activity across a broad range of cancers. here, we evaluate the potential of adding quinacrine to anticancer chemotherapeutics and targeted agents as a potential novel combinatorial therapy for advanced colorectal cancer. We show that quinacrine synergizes with 5-fluorouracil and significantly enhances the cytotoxicity of sorafenib in a panel of 10 human colorectal cancer cell lines, including those with KRAS mutations. protein gel blot analysis confirmed that quinacrine's anticancer activity partially arises from its ability to stabilize p53 and lower anti-apoptotic protein levels. In a series of in vivo studies, quinacrine monotherapy lowered the tumor load of nu/nu mice bearing human colorectal cancer xenografts. In combination, quinacrine and 5-fluorouracil significantly delayed tumor growth of a variety of different xenografts, as compared with each agent administered alone. Our results suggest that the administration of quinacrine in combination with chemotherapeutic agents and targeted agents should be further explored in patients with recurrent, locally advanced, or metastatic colorectal cancer.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)239-251
Number of pages13
JournalCancer Biology and Therapy
Issue number3
StatePublished - Aug 1 2011

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Molecular Medicine
  • Oncology
  • Pharmacology
  • Cancer Research


Dive into the research topics of 'Quinacrine synergizes with 5-fluorouracil and other therapies in colorectal cancer'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this