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Inhibitory Effects of Salinomycin on Cell Survival, Colony Growth, Migration, and Invasion of Human Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer A549 and LNM35: Involvement of NAG-1

Public Library of Science
Publication Date
DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0066931
  • Research Article
  • Biology
  • Computational Biology
  • Molecular Genetics
  • Gene Expression
  • Molecular Cell Biology
  • Cell Death
  • Medicine
  • Drugs And Devices
  • Oncology
  • Cancers And Neoplasms
  • Lung And Intrathoracic Tumors
  • Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer
  • Basic Cancer Research
  • Cancer Treatment
  • Biology
  • Medicine
  • Pharmacology


A major challenge for oncologists and pharmacologists is to develop more potent and less toxic drugs that will decrease the tumor growth and improve the survival of lung cancer patients. Salinomycin is a polyether antibiotic used to kill gram-positive bacteria including mycobacteria, protozoans such as plasmodium falciparum, and the parasites responsible for the poultry disease coccidiosis. This old agent is now a serious anti-cancer drug candidate that selectively inhibits the growth of cancer stem cells. We investigated the impact of salinomycin on survival, colony growth, migration and invasion of the differentiated human non-small cell lung cancer lines LNM35 and A549. Salinomycin caused concentration- and time-dependent reduction in viability of LNM35 and A549 cells through a caspase 3/7-associated cell death pathway. Similarly, salinomycin (2.5–5 µM for 7 days) significantly decreased the growth of LNM35 and A549 colonies in soft agar. Metastasis is the main cause of death related to lung cancer. In this context, salinomycin induced a time- and concentration-dependent inhibition of cell migration and invasion. We also demonstrated for the first time that salinomycin induced a marked increase in the expression of the pro-apoptotic protein NAG-1 leading to the inhibition of lung cancer cell invasion but not cell survival. These findings identify salinomycin as a promising novel therapeutic agent for lung cancer.

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