Dr. Loesgen and Colleagues Publish in Journal Cancers

Dr. Loesgen and Colleagues Publish in Journal Cancers

Published: Thursday, December 16, 2021

Congratulations to Dr. Sandra Loesgen and colleagues who recently published a paper in the special issue 'Pediatric Cancers' in the open access Journal Cancers entitled 'Altertoxin II, a Highly Effective and Specific Compound against Ewing Sarcoma'. Dr. Loesgen and her former Ph.D. student Ross Overacker had a supportive role for this paper that is a study towards new pediatric cancer treatments.


A screening program designed to identify natural products with selective cytotoxic effects against cell lines representing different types of pediatric solid tumors led to the identification of altertoxin II as a highly potent and selective cytotoxin against Ewing sarcoma cell lines. Altertoxin II, but not the related compounds altertoxin I and alteichin, was highly effective against every Ewing sarcoma cell line tested, with an average 25-fold selectivity for these cells as compared to cells representing other pediatric and adult cancers. Mechanism of action studies revealed that altertoxin II causes DNA double-strand breaks, a rapid DNA damage response, and cell cycle accumulation in the S phase. Our studies also demonstrate that the potent effects of altertoxin II are partially dependent on the progression through the cell cycle, because the G1 arrest initiated by a CDK4/6 inhibitor decreased antiproliferative potency more than 10 times. Importantly, the cell-type-selective DNA-damaging effects of altertoxin II in Ewing sarcoma cells occur independently of its ability to bind directly to DNA. Ultimately, we found that altertoxin II has a dose-dependent in vivo antitumor efficacy against a Ewing sarcoma xenograft, suggesting that it has potential as a therapeutic drug lead and will be useful to identify novel targets for Ewing-sarcoma-specific therapies. 

Full Paper