A New Nrf2 Inhibitor Enhances Chemotherapeutic Effects in Glioblastoma Cells Carrying p53 Mutations

Rayhaneh Afjei, Negar Sadeghipour, Sukumar Uday Kumar, Mallesh Pandrala, Vineet Kumar, Sanjay V. Malhotra, Tarik F. Massoud, Ramasamy Paulmurugan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


TP53 tumor suppressor gene is a commonly mutated gene in cancer. p53 mediated senescence is critical in preventing oncogenesis in normal cells. Since p53 is a transcription factor, mutations in its DNA binding domain result in the functional loss of p53-mediated cellular pathways. Similarly, nuclear factor erythroid 2–related factor 2 (Nrf2) is another transcription factor that maintains cellular homeostasis by regulating redox and detoxification mechanisms. In glioblastoma (GBM), Nrf2-mediated antioxidant activity is upregulated while p53-mediated senescence is lost, both rendering GBM cells resistant to treatment. To address this, we identified novel Nrf2 inhibitors from bioactive compounds using a molecular imaging biosensor-based screening approach. We further evaluated the identified compounds for their in vitro and in vivo chemotherapy enhancement capabilities in GBM cells carrying different p53 mutations. We thus identified an Nrf2 inhibitor that is effective in GBM cells carrying the p53 (R175H) mutation, a frequent clinically observed hotspot structural mutation responsible for chemotherapeutic resistance in GBM. Combining this drug with low-dose chemotherapies can potentially reduce their toxicity and increase their efficacy by transiently suppressing Nrf2-mediated detoxification function in GBM cells carrying this important p53 missense mutation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number6120
Issue number24
StatePublished - Dec 2022


  • Nrf2
  • chemotherapy
  • glioblastoma
  • p53
  • small molecule compounds

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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