To fight cancer at its roots by targeting cancer stem cells is a promising approach for therapy. Previously, an indolylquinoline derivative, 3-((7-ethyl-1H-indol-3-yl)-methyl)-2-methylquinoline (EMMQ), was reported effectively inhibiting the growth of lung cancer cells through impairment of cellular mitochondria functions. To address more on drug efficiency, the study further exploited if EMMQ can impede the propagation of tumorspheres stemmed from non-small cell lung cancer cells. EMMQ inhibited proliferation of spheroids in culture. In animal models, administration of the drug attenuated the spheroid tumorigenicity. The activated apoptosis alleviated growth of xenograft tumors in immune-deficient mice as established by the enriched tumorspheres. More evidence suggested that the reduced stemness of the spheroid tumors is attributed to apoptotic death. The findings supported that EMMQ is an eligible approach to eradicate the minor but tumorigenic lung cancer tumorspheres.
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