Recombinant tumor necrosis factor-related apoptosis-inducing ligand (TRAIL) is an antitumor protein that is in clinical trials as a potential anticancer therapy but suffers from drug properties that may limit efficacy such as short serum half-life, stability, cost, and biodistribution, particularly with respect to the brain. To overcome such limitations, we identified TRAIL-inducing compound 10 (TIC10), a potent, orally active, and stable small molecule that transcriptionally induces TRAIL in a p53-independent manner and crosses the blood-brain barrier. TIC10 induces a sustained up-regulation of TRAIL in tumors and normal cells that may contribute to the demonstrable antitumor activity of TIC10. TIC10 inactivates kinases Akt and extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK), leading to the translocation of Foxo3a into the nucleus, where it binds to the TRAIL promoter to up-regulate gene transcription. TIC10 is an efficacious antitumor therapeutic agent that acts on tumor cells and their microenvironment to enhance the concentrations of the endogenous tumor suppressor TRAIL.
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