Sertindole, an Antipsychotic Drug, Curbs the STAT3/BCL-xL Axis to Elicit Human Bladder Cancer Cell Apoptosis In Vitro

Chao Yu Hsu, Wei Ting Yang, Ju Hwa Lin, Chien Hsing Lu, Kai Cheng Hu, Tsuo Hung Lan*, Chia Che Chang*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Bladder cancer is the leading urinary tract malignancy. Epidemiological evidence has linked lower cancer incidence in schizophrenia patients to long-term medication, highlighting the anticancer potential of antipsychotics. Sertindole is an atypical antipsychotic agent with reported anticancer action on breast and gastric cancers. Yet, sertindole’s effect on bladder cancer remains unaddressed. We herein present the first evidence of sertindole’s antiproliferative effect and mechanisms of action on human bladder cancer cells. Sertindole was cytotoxic against bladder cancer cells while less cytotoxic to normal urothelial cells. Apoptosis was a primary cause of sertindole’s cytotoxicity, as the pan-caspase inhibitor z-VAD-fmk rescued cells from sertindole-induced killing. Mechanistically, sertindole inhibited the activation of signal transducer and activator of transcription 3 (STAT3), an oncogenic driver of bladder cancer, as sertindole lowered the levels of tyrosine 705-phosphorylated STAT3 along with that of STAT3′s target gene BCL-xL. Notably, ectopic expression of the dominant-active STAT3 mutant impaired sertindole-induced apoptosis in addition to restoring BCL-xL expression. Moreover, bladder cancer cells overexpressing BCL-xL were refractory to sertindole’s proapoptotic action, arguing that sertindole represses STAT3 to downregulate BCL-xL, culminating in the induction of apoptosis. Overall, the current study indicated sertindole exerts bladder cancer cytotoxicity by provoking apoptosis through targeted inhibition of the antiapoptotic STAT3/BCL-xL signaling axis. These findings implicate the potential to repurpose sertindole as a therapeutic strategy for bladder cancer.

Original languageEnglish
Article number11852
JournalInternational Journal Of Molecular Sciences
Issue number14
StatePublished - Jul 2023


  • antipsychotics
  • apoptosis
  • BCL-xL
  • bladder cancer
  • sertindole
  • STAT3


Dive into the research topics of 'Sertindole, an Antipsychotic Drug, Curbs the STAT3/BCL-xL Axis to Elicit Human Bladder Cancer Cell Apoptosis In Vitro'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this