3-m-bromoacetylamino benzoic acid ethyl ester: A new cancericidal agent that activates the apoptotic pathway through caspase-9

Michael Schlesinger, Jian Dong Jiang, Julia P. Roboz, Larry Denner, Yi He Ling, James F. Holland, J. George Bekesi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


The mechanism underlying the cancericidal activity of 3-m-bromoacetylamino benzoic acid ethyl ester (3-BAABE) was investigated. 3-BAABE exerted a strong cancericidal effect on human leukemia and lymphoma cells (IC50 < 0.2 μg/mL) and on cell lines of prostate, colon, ductal, and kidney cancer (IC50 0.8 to 0.88 μg/mL). Multiple drug resistance (MDR) had no effect on the susceptibility of human lymphoma cells to 3-BAABE, since Daudi/MDR20 and wild-type Daudi cells had a similar susceptibility to the cytotoxic effect of 3-BAABE. The cancericidal effect of 3-BAABE, which was not associated with changes in the cell cycle, was mediated by apoptosis. Thus, cells exposed to 3-BAABE displayed the DNA fragmentation ladder characteristic for apoptosis, associated with a marked increase of the activity of apoptosis effector caspases-3 and -6, which was followed by proteolytic cleavage of DNA fragmentation factor (DFF) and poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase (PARP). Exposure of tumor cells to 3-BAABE increased the activity of apical caspase-9, but had no effect on caspase-8. Complete inhibition of 3-BAABE-induced apoptosis was exerted by LEHD-FMK, a caspase-9 inhibitor. DEVD-FMK, a caspase-3 inhibitor, and VEID-FMK, a caspase-6 inhibitor, partially inhibited 3-BAABE-induced apoptosis, whereas exposure to IETD-FMK, a caspase-8 inhibitor, had no effect. The fragmentation and elevated activity of caspase-9 in 3-BAABE-treated cells and the fact that only an inhibitor of caspase-9 abrogated 3-BAABE-induced apoptosis indicate that 3-BAABE is a distinctive compound that elicits apoptosis through a pathway that is limited specifically to activation of apical caspase-9. (C) 2000 Elsevier Science Inc.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1693-1702
Number of pages10
JournalBiochemical Pharmacology
Issue number11
StatePublished - Dec 1 2000
Externally publishedYes


  • Apoptosis
  • Cancericidal drug
  • Caspases

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Pharmacology


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