Dual Targeting of the Autophagic Regulatory Circuitry in Gliomas with Repurposed Drugs Elicits Cell-Lethal Autophagy and Therapeutic Benefit
The associations of tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs) with reduced incidence of gliomas and elevated autophagy in glioma cells motivated investigation in mouse models of gliomagenesis. First, we established that imipramine, a TCA, increased autophagy and conveyed modest therapeutic benefit in tumor-bearing animals. Then we screened clinically approved agents suggested to affect autophagy for their ability to enhance imipramine-induced autophagy-associated cell death. The anticoagulant ticlopidine, which inhibits the purinergic receptor P2Y(12), potentiated imipramine, elevating cAMP, a modulator of autophagy, reducing cell viability in culture, and increasing survival in glioma-bearing mice. Efficacy of the combination was obviated by knockdown of the autophagic regulatory gene ATG7, implicating cell-lethal autophagy. This seemingly innocuous combination of TCAs and P2Y(12) inhibitors may have applicability for treating glioma.