Targeting BRD4 and PI3K signaling pathways for the treatment of medulloblastoma

Bharti Sethi, Virender Kumar, Thilina D. Jayasinghe, Yuxiang Dong, Donald R. Ronning, Haizhen A. Zhong, Donald W. Coulter, Ram I. Mahato

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Medulloblastoma (MB) is a malignant pediatric brain tumor which shows upregulation of MYC and sonic hedgehog (SHH) signaling. SHH inhibitor face acquired resistance, which is a major cause of relapse. Further, direct MYC oncogene inhibition is a challenging therapeutic target, inhibition of MYC upstream insulin-like growth factor/ phosphatidylinositol-4,5-bisphosphate 3-kinase (IGF/PI3K) is a promising alternative. While PI3K inhibition activates resistance mechanisms, simultaneous inhibition of bromodomain-containing protein 4 (BRD4) and PI3K can overcome resistance. We synthesized a new molecule 8-(2,3-dihydrobenzo[b] [1, 4] dioxin-6-yl)-2-morpholino-4H-chromen-4-one (MDP5) that targets both BRD4 and PI3K pathways. We used X-ray crystal structures and a molecular modeling approach to confirm the interactions between MDP5 with bromo domains (BDs) from both BRD2 and BRD4, and molecular modeling for PI3K binding. MDP5 was shown to inhibit target pathways and MB cell growth in vitro and in vivo. MDP5 showed higher potency in DAOY cells (IC50 5.5 μM) compared to SF2523 (IC50 12.6 μM), and its IC50 values in HD-MB03 cells were like SF2523. Treatment of MB cells with MDP5 significantly decreased colony formation, increased apoptosis, and halted cell cycle progression. Further, MDP5 was well tolerated in NSG mice bearing either xenograft or orthotopic MB tumors at the dose of 20 mg/kg, and significantly reduced tumor growth and prolonged animal survival.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)80-90
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Controlled Release
StatePublished - Feb 2023


  • BRD4 inhibitor
  • Chemoresistance
  • Crystal structure
  • MDP5
  • Medulloblastoma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmaceutical Science


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