The targeted SMAC mimetic SW IV-134 augments platinum-based chemotherapy in pre-clinical models of ovarian cancer

Pratibha S. Binder, Yassar M. Hashim, James Cripe, Tommy Buchanan, Abigail Zamorano, Suwanna Vangveravong, David G. Mutch, William G. Hawkins, Matthew A. Powell, Dirk Spitzer

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3 Scopus citations


Background: Ovarian cancer is initially responsive to frontline chemotherapy. Unfortunately, it often recurs and becomes resistant to available therapies and the survival rate for advanced and recurrent ovarian cancer is unacceptably low. We thus hypothesized that it would be possible to achieve more durable treatment responses by combining cisplatin chemotherapy with SW IV-134, a cancer-targeted peptide mimetic and inducer of cell death. SW IV-134 is a recently developed small molecule conjugate linking a sigma-2 ligand with a peptide analog (mimetic) of the intrinsic death pathway activator SMAC (second-mitochondria activator of caspases). The sigma-2 receptor is overexpressed in ovarian cancer and the sigma-2 ligand portion of the conjugate facilitates cancer selectivity. The effector portion of the conjugate is expected to synergize with cisplatin chemotherapy and the cancer selectivity is expected to reduce putative off-target toxicities. Methods: Ovarian cancer cell lines were treated with cisplatin alone, SW IV-134 alone and a combination of the two drugs. Treatment efficacy was determined using luminescent cell viability assays. Caspase-3/7, − 8 and − 9 activities were measured as complementary indicators of death pathway activation. Syngeneic mouse models and patient-derived xenograft (PDX) models of human ovarian cancer were studied for response to SW IV-134 and cisplatin monotherapy as well as combination therapy. Efficacy of the therapy was measured by tumor growth rate and survival as the primary readouts. Potential drug related toxicities were assessed at necropsy. Results: The combination treatment was consistently superior in multiple cell lines when compared to the single agents in vitro. The expected mechanism of tumor cell death, such as caspase activation, was confirmed using luminescent and flow cytometry-based assay systems. Combination therapy proved to be superior in both syngeneic and PDX-based murine models of ovarian cancer. Most notably, combination therapy resulted in a complete resolution of established tumors in all study animals in a patient-derived xenograft model of ovarian cancer. Conclusions: The addition of SW IV-134 in combination with cisplatin chemotherapy represents a promising treatment option that warrants further pre-clinical development and evaluation as a therapy for women with advanced ovarian cancer.

Original languageEnglish
Article number263
JournalBMC Cancer
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2022


  • Cisplatin
  • Combination therapy
  • Ovarian cancer
  • Sigma-2 receptors
  • Sigma-2/SMAC drug conjugate


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