NB compounds are potent and efficacious FOXM1 inhibitors in high-grade serous ovarian cancer cells

Cassie Liu, Makenzie Vorderbruggen, Catalina Muñoz-Trujillo, Sung Hoon Kim, John A. Katzenellenbogen, Benita S. Katzenellenbogen, Adam R. Karpf

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Genetic studies implicate the oncogenic transcription factor Forkhead Box M1 (FOXM1) as a potential therapeutic target in high-grade serous ovarian cancer (HGSOC). We evaluated the activity of different FOXM1 inhibitors in HGSOC cell models. Results: We treated HGSOC and fallopian tube epithelial (FTE) cells with a panel of previously reported FOXM1 inhibitors. Based on drug potency, efficacy, and selectivity, determined through cell viability assays, we focused on two compounds, NB-73 and NB-115 (NB compounds), for further investigation. NB compounds potently and selectively inhibited FOXM1 with lesser effects on other FOX family members. NB compounds decreased FOXM1 expression via targeting the FOXM1 protein by promoting its proteasome-mediated degradation, and effectively suppressed FOXM1 gene targets at both the protein and mRNA level. At the cellular level, NB compounds promoted apoptotic cell death. Importantly, while inhibition of apoptosis using a pan-caspase inhibitor rescued HGSOC cells from NB compound-induced cell death, it did not rescue FOXM1 protein degradation, supporting that FOXM1 protein loss from NB compound treatment is specific and not a general consequence of cytotoxicity. Drug washout studies indicated that FOXM1 reduction was retained for at least 72 h post-treatment, suggesting that NB compounds exhibit long-lasting effects in HGSOC cells. NB compounds effectively suppressed both two-dimensional and three-dimensional HGSOC cell colony formation at sub-micromolar concentrations. Finally, NB compounds exhibited synergistic activity with carboplatin in HGSOC cells. Conclusions: NB compounds are potent, selective, and efficacious inhibitors of FOXM1 in HGSOC cells and are worthy of further investigation as HGSOC therapeutics.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number94
JournalJournal of Ovarian Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2024


  • Apoptosis
  • FOXM1
  • FOXM1 inhibitors
  • Fallopian tube epithelial cells
  • High-grade serous ovarian cancer
  • NB compounds
  • Ovarian cancer

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology


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