Exploring Nitric Oxide (NO)-Releasing Celecoxib Derivatives as Modulators of Radioresponse in Pheochromocytoma Cells
COX-2 can be considered as a clinically relevant molecular target for adjuvant, in particular radiosensitizing treatments. In this regard, using selective COX-2 inhibitors, e.g., in combination with radiotherapy or endoradiotherapy, represents an interesting treatment option. Based on our own findings that nitric oxide (NO)-releasing and celecoxib-derived COX-2 inhibitors (COXIBs) showed promising radiosensitizing effects in vitro, we herein present the development of a series of eight novel NO-COXIBs differing in the peripheral substitution pattern and their chemical and in vitro characterization. COX-1 and COX-2 inhibition potency was found to be comparable to the lead NO-COXIBs, and NO-releasing properties were demonstrated to be mainly influenced by the substituent in 4-position of the pyrazole (Cl vs. H). Introduction of the N -propionamide at the sulfamoyl residue as a potential prodrug strategy lowered lipophilicity markedly and abolished COX inhibition while NO-releasing properties were not markedly influenced. NO-COXIBs were tested in vitro for a combination with single-dose external X-ray irradiation as well as [ 177 Lu]LuCl 3 treatment in HIF2α-positive mouse pheochromocytoma (MPC-HIF2a) tumor spheroids. When applied directly before X-ray irradiation or 177 Lu treatment, NO-COXIBs showed radioprotective effects, as did celecoxib, which was used as a control. Radiosensitizing effects were observed when applied shortly after X-ray irradiation. Overall, the NO-COXIBs were found to be more radioprotective compared with celecoxib, which does not warrant further preclinical studies with the NO-COXIBs for the treatment of pheochromocytoma. However, evaluation as radioprotective agents for healthy tissues could be considered for the NO-COXIBs developed here, especially when used directly before irradiation.