A molecule targeting VHL-deficient renal cell carcinoma that induces autophagy.
Turcotte S., Chan DA., Sutphin PD., Hay MP., Denny WA., Giaccia AJ.
Renal cell carcinomas (RCCs) are refractory to standard therapies. The von Hippel-Lindau (VHL) tumor suppressor gene is inactivated in 75% of RCCs. By screening for small molecules selectively targeting VHL-deficient RCC cells, we identified STF-62247. STF-62247 induces cytotoxicity and reduces tumor growth of VHL-deficient RCC cells compared to genetically matched cells with wild-type VHL. STF-62247-stimulated toxicity occurs in a HIF-independent manner through autophagy. Reduction of protein levels of essential autophagy pathway components reduces sensitivity of VHL-deficient cells to STF-62247. Using a yeast deletion pool, we show that loss of proteins involved in Golgi trafficking increases killing by STF-62247. Thus, we have found a small molecule that selectively induces cell death in VHL-deficient cells, representing a paradigm shift for targeted therapy.