Investigation of the activity of a novel tropolone in osteosarcoma

Staci L. Haney, Dan Feng, Sai Sundeep Kollala, Yashpal S. Chhonker, Michelle L. Varney, Jacob T. Williams, James B. Ford, Daryl J. Murry, Sarah A. Holstein

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Osteosarcoma (OS) is a primary malignant bone tumor characterized by frequent metastasis, rapid disease progression, and a high rate of mortality. Treatment options for OS have remained largely unchanged for decades, consisting primarily of cytotoxic chemotherapy and surgery, thus necessitating the urgent need for novel therapies. Tropolones are naturally occurring seven-membered non-benzenoid aromatic compounds that possess antiproliferative effects in a wide array of cancer cell types. MO-OH-Nap is an α-substituted tropolone that has activity as an iron chelator. Here, we demonstrate that MO-OH-Nap activates all three arms of the unfolded protein response (UPR) pathway and induces apoptosis in a panel of human OS cell lines. Co-incubation with ferric chloride or ammonium ferrous sulfate completely prevents the induction of apoptotic and UPR markers in MO-OH-Nap-treated OS cells. MO-OH-Nap upregulates transferrin receptor 1 (TFR1) protein levels, as well as TFR1, divalent metal transporter 1 (DMT1), iron-regulatory proteins (IRP1, IRP2), ferroportin (FPN), and zinc transporter 14 (ZIP14) transcript levels, demonstrating the impact of MO-OH-Nap on iron-homeostasis pathways in OS cells. Furthermore, MO-OH-Nap treatment restricts the migration and invasion of OS cells in vitro. Lastly, metabolomic profiling of MO-OH-Nap-treated OS cells revealed distinct changes in purine and pyrimidine metabolism. Collectively, we demonstrate that MO-OH-Nap-induced cytotoxic effects in OS cells are dependent on the tropolone's ability to alter cellular iron availability and that this agent exploits key metabolic pathways. These studies support further evaluation of MO-OH-Nap as a novel treatment for OS.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere22129
JournalDrug Development Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2024


  • apoptosis
  • cellular metabolism
  • drug development
  • experimental therapeutics
  • metabolomics
  • osteosarcoma
  • tropolone

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Drug Discovery


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