Int J Biol Sci 2022; 18(9):3747-3761. doi:10.7150/ijbs.70679 This issue

Research Paper

Repurposing Oxiconazole against Colorectal Cancer via PRDX2-mediated Autophagy Arrest

Jinyu Shi1#, Li Zhou2#, Hui-Si Huang3#, Liyuan Peng2, Na Xie2, Edouard Nice3, Li Fu3, Cen Jiang1✉, Canhua Huang1,2✉

1. School of Basic Medical Sciences, Chengdu University of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Chengdu, 611137, China.
2. State Key Laboratory of Biotherapy and Cancer Center, West China Hospital, West China School of Basic Medical Sciences & Forensic Medicine Sichuan University, and Collaborative Innovation Center for Biotherapy, Chengdu, 610041, China.
3. School of Pharmaceutical Sciences, International Cancer Center, Shenzhen University Health Science Center, Shenzhen 518060, China.
4. Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Monash University, Clayton, Victoria 3800, Australia.
# These authors contributed equally to this work.

This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License ( See for full terms and conditions.
Shi J, Zhou L, Huang HS, Peng L, Xie N, Nice E, Fu L, Jiang C, Huang C. Repurposing Oxiconazole against Colorectal Cancer via PRDX2-mediated Autophagy Arrest. Int J Biol Sci 2022; 18(9):3747-3761. doi:10.7150/ijbs.70679. Available from

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Graphic abstract

Colorectal cancer (CRC) is one of the most common malignancies worldwide, yet successful treatment still remains a challenge. In this study, we found that oxiconazole (OXI), a broad-spectrum antifungal agent, exhibits certain anti-tumor effect against CRC. Autophagy arrest and subsequent apoptosis are characterized as pivotal events involving OXI-induced growth suppression of CRC cells. Mechanistically, OXI downregulates the protein levels of peroxiredoxin-2 (PRDX2), an antioxidant enzyme, for reactive oxygen species (ROS) detoxication, to initiate autophagy by inactivating the Akt/mTOR pathway and inhibiting RAB7A-mediated fusion of autophagosome and lysosome, which lead to extreme accumulation of autophagosomes and subsequent growth suppression of CRC cells. Consistently, interfering with autophagy or overexpressing PRDX2 significantly impedes OXI-induced growth suppression of CRC cells. Moreover, OXI plus oxaliplatin, a mainstay drug for CRC treatment, achieves an improved anti-tumor effect. Taken together, our findings bring novel mechanistic insights into OXI-induced autophagy arrest and the growth inhibitory effect on CRC cells, and suggest a promisingly therapeutic role of OXI for CRC treatment.

Keywords: colorectal cancer, oxiconazole, PRDX2, RAB7A, apoptosis, autophagy arrest