Open Access Research article

A novel naproxen derivative capable of displaying anti-cancer and anti-migratory properties against human breast cancer cells

Jolly Deb1*, Joydeb Majumder2, Sankar Bhattacharyya3 and Siddhartha Sankar Jana1*

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Biological Chemistry, Indian Association for the Cultivation of Science, 2A & 2B Raja S. C. Mullick Road, 700032 Kolkata, India

2 Department of Organic Chemistry, Indian Association for the Cultivation of Science, 2A & 2B Raja S. C. Mullick Road, 700032 Kolkata, India

3 Department of Zoology, Sidho Kanho Birsha University, Purulia, India

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BMC Cancer 2014, 14:567  doi:10.1186/1471-2407-14-567

Published: 7 August 2014



Increasingly, the role of chronic inflammation and its mediators in tumor generation and progression is gaining importance in the field of cancer research. In this context, candidature of non steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) as potential anti-tumor therapeutic agent is being evaluated globally. In the present study we have evaluated the anti-cancer effect of a series of newly synthesized naproxen derivatives on human breast cancer cell lines.


MCF-7 (poorly invasive) and MDA-MB-231 (highly invasive) cells were treated with different concentrations of naproxen sodium and its derivatives in vitro, and the underlying mechanism of action was monitored by employing studies related to induction of apoptosis, activation of caspases, cell-cycle progression, synthesis of PGE2 and cellular migration.


After a preliminary screening using MCF-7 and MDA-MB-231 cells, it was evident that naproxen derivative 4 has a better killing property compared to its parent compound naproxen sodium (NS). On further investigation, it was apparent that the observed growth inhibitory activity on MDA-MB-231 cells after treatment with 4, was not due to cell cycle arrest but due to an early induction of apoptosis and subsequent induction of caspases 3 and 9. Derivative 4 could also inhibit COX activity in MDA-MB-231 cells as evidenced by reduction in prostaglandin E2 secretion. Moreover, 4 was capable of delaying the overall migration rate of MDA-MB-231 cells in vitro.


In this study we report that a naproxen-derivative (4) has powerful anti-inflammatory and anti-tumor properties as it induces appreciable amount of apoptosis in breast cancer cell line, and can also delay migration of cancer cells (MDA-MB-231) which would in turn delay cancer cell invasion and formation of secondary tumours in primary breast cancer patients. Thus, we propose that 4 is worthy of further investigation due to its potential as a therapeutic agent in anti-tumor treatment regimen.

MCF-7; MDA-MB-231; MTT assay; Apoptosis; Inflammation; Metastasis