Thirty new cycloartane derivatives (1-3, 5-12, 14-32) have been isolated from the leaves of Neoboutonia melleri. Their novelty stems from the loss of one of the C-4 methyl groups (1-3, 5-12, 14-25, and 32) and from the presence of an "extra" carbon atom in the side chain (1-3, 5-12, 14-20, 26-29, and 30-32). Furthermore, compound 32 possesses a rare triterpene skeleton with the cyclopropane ring fused onto C-1 and C-10, instead of C-9 and C-10. The structures were determined by spectrometric means, chemical correlations, and X-ray crystallography of derivative 1c. The substitution pattern in ring A, with a cyclopropyl ring conjugated with an ?,?-unsaturated carbonyl moiety, confers to the molecule a particular reactivity, giving rise to a formal inversion of the stereochemistry of the cyclopropane ring under UV irradiation. These compounds showed an interesting level of activity on the proteasome pathway, thus motivating their evaluation as possible anticancer agents. The large number of isolated compounds permitted a structure-activity relationship analysis, which showed that the presence of the two enone functions was a requirement for the activity.
The interesting pharmacological properties of neoboutomellerones 1 and 2 were the basis for the assembly of a small library of analogues consisting of natural products isolated from the plant Neoboutonia melleri and of semisynthetic derivatives. As the two enone systems (C23-C24a and C1-C3) and the two hydroxyls groups (C22 and C26) of neoboutomellerones are required for activity, modifications were focused on these functional groups. Biological evaluation by using a cellular assay for proteasome activity provided clues regarding the mechanism of action of these natural products and synthetic derivatives. Certain neoboutomellerone derivatives inhibited the proliferation of human WM-266-4 melanoma tumor cells at submicromolar concentration and warrant evaluation as anticancer agents.
Six carvotanacetone derivatives (1- 6), amongst which four new compounds (1- 4), were isolated from the aerial parts of Sphaeranthus ukambensis Vatke & O. Hoffm. The structures of the molecules were elucidated by complementary spectroscopic methods, and their biological properties were investigated using human DLD-1 colon cancer cells engineered to stably express a 4?ubiquitin-luciferase (4?Ub-Luc) reporter protein. Five of the isolated carvotanacetone derivatives (2- 6) were found to inhibit the proliferation of the colon cancer cells and interfere with the ubiquitin-proteasome pathway, with potencies in a micromolar range.
We have exploited the polyamine transport system (PTS) to deliver selectively a spermine-drug conjugate, F14512 to cancer cells. This study was aimed to define F14512 anticancer efficacy against tumor models and to investigate whether fluorophor-labeled polyamine probes could be used to identify tumors expressing a highly active PTS and that might be sensitive to F14512 treatments. Eighteen tumor models were used to assess F14512 antitumor activity. Cellular uptake of spermine-based fluorescent probes was measured by flow cytometry in cells sampled from tumor xenografts by needle biopsy. The accumulation of the fluorescent probe within B16 tumors in vivo was assessed using infrared fluorescence imaging. This study has provided evidence of a major antitumor activity for F14512. Significant responses were obtained in 67% of the tumor models evaluated, with a high level of activity recorded in 33% of the responsive models. Complete tumor regressions were observed after i.v., i.p. or oral administrations of F14512 and its antitumor activity was demonstrated over a range of 2-5 dose levels, providing evidence of its good tolerance. The level of cellular fluorescence emitted by the fluorescent probes was higher in cells sampled from tumors sensitive to F14512 treatments than from F14512-refractory tumors. We suggest that these probes could be used to identify tumors expressing a highly active PTS and guide the selection of patients that might be treated with F14512. These results emphasize the preclinical interest of this novel molecule and support its further clinical development.
Metastatic melanoma is the most aggressive skin cancer. Recently, phenotypically distinct subpopulations of tumor cells were identified. Among them, ABCB5-expressing cells were proposed to display an enhanced tumorigenicity with stem cell-like properties. In addition, ABCB5(+) cells are thought to participate to chemoresistance through a potential efflux function of ABCB5. Nevertheless, the fate of these cells upon drugs that are used in melanoma chemotherapy remains to be clarified. Here we explored the effect of anti-melanoma treatments on the ABCB5-expressing cells. Using a melanoma xenograft model (WM266-4), we observed in vivo that ABCB5-expressing cells are enriched after a temozolomide treatment that induces a significant tumor regression. These results were further confirmed in a preliminary study conducted on clinical samples from patients that received dacarbazine. In vitro, we showed that ABCB5-expressing cells selectively survive when exposed to dacarbazine, the reference treatment of metastatic melanoma, but also to vemurafenib, a new inhibitor of the mutated kinase V600E BRAF and other various chemotherapeutic drugs. Our results show that anti-melanoma chemotherapy might participate to the chemoresistance acquisition by selecting tumor cell subpopulations expressing ABCB5. This is of particular importance in understanding the relapses observed after anti-melanoma treatments and reinforces the interest of ABCB5 and ABCB5-expressing cells as potential therapeutic targets in melanoma.
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