Clock genes encoding transcription factors that regulate circadian rhythms may inform chronomodulated chemotherapy, where time-dependent dose alterations might affect drug efficacy and reduce side effects. For example, inhibiting the essential cystine transporter xCT with sulfasalazine induces growth arrest in cancer cells. Although the anticancer effects of sulfasalazine have been studied extensively, its effects on transcriptional control of xCT expression have not been studied. Here, we show that sulfasalazine administration during the period of increased xCT expression improves its anticancer effects and that the Clock gene itself induces xCT expression and regulates its circadian rhythm. Our findings highlight the clinical potential of chronomodulated chemotherapy and the importance of xCT-mediated transcriptional regulation in the utility of such strategies.
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