R-ketorolac Targets Cdc42 and Rac1 and Alters Ovarian Cancer Cell Behaviors Critical for Invasion and Metastasis. Academic Article uri icon


  • Cdc42 (cell division control protein 42) and Rac1 (Ras-related C3 botulinum toxin substrate 1) are attractive therapeutic targets in ovarian cancer based on established importance in tumor cell migration, adhesion and invasion. Despite a predicted benefit, targeting GTPases has not yet been translated to clinical practice. We previously established that Cdc42 and constitutively active Rac1b are overexpressed in primary ovarian tumor tissues. Through high throughput screening and computational shape homology approaches we identified R-ketorolac as a Cdc42 and Rac1 inhibitor; distinct from the anti-inflammatory, cyclooxygenase inhibitory activity of S-ketorolac. In the present study, we establish R-ketorolac as an allosteric inhibitor of Cdc42 and Rac1. Cell-based assays validate R-ketorolac activity against Cdc42 and Rac1. Studies on immortalized human ovarian adenocarcinoma cells (SKOV3ip), and primary, patient-derived ovarian cancer cells show R-ketorolac is a robust inhibitor of growth factor or serum dependent Cdc42 and Rac1 activation with a potency and cellular efficacy similar to small molecule inhibitors of Cdc42 (CID2950007/ML141) and Rac1 (NSC23766). Furthermore, GTPase inhibition by R-ketorolac reduces downstream p21-activated kinases (PAK1/PAK2) effector activation by >80%. Multiple assays of cell behavior using SKOV3ip and primary patient-derived ovarian cancer cells show that R-ketorolac significantly inhibits cell adhesion, migration and invasion. In sum, we provide evidence for R-ketorolac as direct inhibitor of Cdc42 and Rac1 that is capable of modulating downstream GTPase-dependent, physiological responses, which are critical to tumor metastasis. Our findings demonstrate the selective inhibition of Cdc42 and Rac1 GTPases by an FDA approved drug-racemic ketorolac that can be used in humans.Copyright © 2015, American Association for Cancer Research.

publication date

  • July 2015