WEE1 inhibition by MK1775 as a single-agent therapy inhibits ovarian cancer viability

Minghui Zhang, Donye Dominguez, Siqi Chen, Jie Fan, Lei Qin, Alan Long, Xia Li, Yi Zhang, Huirong Shi, Bin Zhang*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Scopus citations


Wee1-like protein kinase (WEE1) physiologically serves a key function in maintaining the integrity of the cell genome through mediating the activation of cyclin-dependent kinase (CDK)1 and CDK2. Increased expression of WEE1 has been associated with the poor prognosis of patients with ovarian cancer. The present study aimed at examining the in vitro and in vivo antitumor activity of MK1775, a potent pharmacological inhibitor of WEE1, as a single agent against ovarian cancer cells. The cytotoxicity of MK1775 was examined in a panel of tumor cells using MTT in vitro. Subsequently, a cell apoptosis assay was performed in ovarian cancer SKOV3 and ID8 cells to characterize the function of MK1775 in tumor cell apoptosis, under either wild-type tumor protein 53 (p53) or null p53 status. In addition, cell cycle analysis and a western blot analysis were performed to validate the effect of MK1775 on cell cycle progression and to elucidate the underlying molecular mechanism of cell death. Finally, the in vivo antitumor efficacy of MK1775 as a single agent at a clinical well-tolerated dose was determined. A dose-dependent inhibitory effect of MK1775 on tumor cell viability was determined in distinct cell lines, including B16F10, LLC1, BPS1, EG7, ID8 and SKOV3. Results from the cell cycle analysis and western blotting indicated that MK1775 abrogated the G2/M checkpoint through inhibiting the phosphorylation of CDK1 and inducing the apoptosis of ovarian cancer cells that lacked mutations in p53 and breast cancer 1 (BRCA1). Additionally, a significant antitumor effect of MK1775 was observed in C57BL/6 mice bearing syngeneic ID8 ovarian tumors. The results of the present study supported the use of MK1775 as a monotherapy agent in ovarian cancer. MK1775 was effective at inducing mitotic catastrophe, independent of p53 and BRCA1 mutations. Therefore, WEE1 inhibition by MK1775 requires additional investigation to identify novel combination approaches in ovarian cancer therapy with the current DNA damaging agents, including irradiation treatment and cell cycle checkpoint inhibitors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3580-3586
Number of pages7
JournalOncology Letters
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2017


  • ID8
  • MK1775
  • Monotherapy
  • Ovarian cancer
  • SKOV3
  • Weel-like protein kinase

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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