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Comp34 displays potent preclinical antitumor efficacy in triple-negative breast cancer via inhibition of NUDT3-AS4, a novel oncogenic long noncoding RNA


The abnormal PI3K/AKT/mTOR pathway is one of the most common genomic abnormalities in breast cancers including triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC), and pharmacologic inhibition of these aberrations has shown activity in TNBC patients. Here, we designed and identified a small-molecule Comp34 that suppresses both AKT and mTOR protein expression and exhibits robust cytotoxicity towards TNBC cells but not nontumorigenic normal breast epithelial cells. Mechanically, long noncoding RNA (lncRNA) AL354740.1-204 (also named as NUDT3-AS4) acts as a microRNA sponge to compete with AKT1/mTOR mRNAs for binding to miR-99s, leading to decrease in degradation of AKT1/mTOR mRNAs and subsequent increase in AKT1/mTOR protein expression. Inhibition of lncRNA-NUDT3-AS4 and suppression of the NUDT3-AS4/miR-99s association contribute to Comp34-affected biologic pathways. In addition, Comp34 alone is effective in cells with secondary resistance to rapamycin, the best-known inhibitor of mTOR, and displays a greater in vivo antitumor efficacy and lower toxicity than rapamycin in TNBC xenografted models. In conclusion, NUDT3-AS4 may play a proproliferative role in TNBC and be considered a relevant therapeutic target, and Comp34 presents promising activity as a single agent to inhibit TNBC through regulation of NUDT3-AS4 and miR-99s.

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