Mitochondria-targeted antioxidant SkQ1 suppresses fibrosarcoma and rhabdomyosarcoma tumour cell growth

<p>Mitochondria are important regulators of tumour growth and progression due to their specific role in cancer metabolism and modulation of apoptotic pathways. In this paper we describe that mitochondria-targeted antioxidant SkQ1 designed as a conjugate of decyl-triphenylphosphonium cation (TPP<sup>+</sup>) with plastoquinone, suppressed the growth of fibrosarcoma HT1080 and rhabdomyosarcoma RD tumour cells in culture and tumour growth of RD in xenograft nude mouse model. Under the same conditions, no detrimental effect of SkQ1 on cell growth of primary human subcutaneous fibroblasts was observed. The tumour growth suppression was shown to be a result of the antioxidant action of low nanomolar concentrations of SkQ1. We have revealed significant prolongation of mitosis induced by SkQ1 in both tumour cell cultures. Prolonged mitosis and apoptosis could be responsible for growth suppression after SkQ1 treatment in RD cells. Growth suppression in HT1080 cells was accompanied by the delay of telophase and cytokinesis, followed by multinuclear cells formation. The effects of SkQ1 on the cell cycle were proved to be at least in partially mediated by inactivation of Aurora family kinases.</p>