Metal-based proteasomal deubiquitinase inhibitors as potential anticancer agents

Xin Chen, Qianqian Yang, Lu Xiao, Daolin Tang, Q. Ping Dou, Jinbao Liu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Scopus citations


Deubiquitinases (DUBs) play an important role in protein quality control in eukaryotic cells due to their ability to specifically remove ubiquitin from substrate proteins. Therefore, recent findings have focused on the relevance of DUBs to cancer development, and pharmacological intervention on these enzymes has become a promising strategy for cancer therapy. In particular, several DUBs are physically and/or functionally associated with the proteasome and are attractive targets for the development of novel anticancer drugs. The successful clinical application of cisplatin in cancer treatment has prompted researchers to develop various metal-based anticancer agents with new properties. Recently, we have reported that several metal-based drugs, such as the antirheumatic gold agent auranofin (AF), the antifouling paint biocides copper pyrithione (CuPT) and zinc pyrithione (ZnPT), and also our two synthesized complexes platinum pyrithione (PtPT) and nickel pyrithione (NiPT), can target the proteasomal DUBs UCHL5 and USP14. In this review, we summarize the recently reported small molecule inhibitors of proteasomal DUBs, with a focus on discussion of the unique nature of metal-based proteasomal DUB inhibitors and their anticancer activity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)655-668
Number of pages14
JournalCancer and Metastasis Reviews
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 1 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • Cancer
  • DUB inhibitor
  • Deubiquitinase
  • Metal
  • Proteasome

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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