Chemoprevention of Lung Cancer with a Combination of Mitochondria-Targeted Compounds

Qi Zhang, Donghai Xiong, Jing Pan, Yian Wang, Micael Hardy, Balaraman Kalyanaraman, Ming You

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Combined treatment targeting mitochondria may improve the efficacy of lung cancer chemoprevention. Here, mitochondria-targeted honokiol (Mito-HNK), an inhibitor of mitochon-drial complex I and STAT3 phosphorylation, and mitochondria-targeted lonidamine (Mito-LND), an inhibitor of mitochondrial complexes I/II and AKT/mTOR/p70S6K signaling, were evaluated for their combinational chemopreventive efficacy on mouse lung carcinogenesis. All chemopreventive treatments began one-week post-carcinogen treatment and continued daily for 24 weeks. No evidence of toxicity (including liver toxicity) was detected by monitoring serum levels of alanine aminotrans-ferase and aspartate aminotransferase enzymes. Mito-HNK or Mito-LND treatment alone reduced tumor load by 56% and 48%, respectively, whereas the combination of Mito-HNK and Mito-LND reduced tumor load by 83%. To understand the potential mechanism(s) of action for the observed combinatorial effects, single-cell RNA sequencing was performed using mouse tumors treated with Mito-HNK, Mito-LND, and their combination. In lung tumor cells, Mito-HNK treatment blocked the expression of genes involved in mitochondrial complex I, oxidative phosphorylation, glycolysis, and STAT3 signaling. Mito-LND inhibited the expression of genes for mitochondrial complexes I/II, ox-idative phosphorylation, and AKT/mTOR/p70S6K signaling in lung tumor cells. In addition to these changes, a combination of Mito-HNK with Mito-LND decreased arginine and proline metabolism, N-glycan biosynthesis, and tryptophan metabolism in lung tumor cells. Our results demonstrate that Mito-LND enhanced the antitumor efficacy of Mito-HNK, where both compounds inhibited common targets (oxidative phosphorylation) as well as unique targets for each agent (STAT3 and mTOR signaling). Therefore, the combination of Mito-HNK with Mito-LND may present an effective strategy for lung cancer chemoprevention.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number2538
Issue number10
StatePublished - May 1 2022


  • lung cancer
  • mitochondria-targeted honokiol
  • mitochondria-targeted lonidamine
  • mitochondrial bioen-ergetics
  • single-cell RNA sequencing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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