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Find video protocols related to scientific articles indexed in Pubmed.
Omega-3 Fatty Acid is a potential preventive agent for recurrent colon cancer.
Cancer Prev Res (Phila)
PUBLISHED: 09-05-2014
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Increasing evidence supports the contention that many malignancies, including sporadic colorectal cancer, are driven by the self-renewing, chemotherapy-resistant cancer stem/stem-like cells (CSC/CSLC), underscoring the need for improved preventive and therapeutic strategies targeting CSCs/CSLCs. Omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (?-3 PUFA), have been reported to inhibit the growth of primary tumors, but their potential as a preventive agent for recurring cancers is unexplored. The primary objectives of this investigation are (i) to examine whether eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA; one of the ?-3 PUFA) synergizes with FuOx (5-FU+Oxaliplatin), the backbone of colon cancer chemotherapy, and (ii) whether EPA by itself or in combination with conventional chemotherapy prevents the recurrence of colon cancer via eliminating/suppressing CSCs/CSLCs. FuOx-resistant (chemoresistant; CR) colon cancer cells, highly enriched in CSCs, were used for this study. Although EPA alone was effective, combination of EPA and FuOx was more potent in (i) inhibiting cell growth, colonosphere formation, and sphere-forming frequency, (ii) increasing sphere disintegration, (iii) suppressing the growth of SCID mice xenografts of CR colon cancer cells, and (iv) decreasing proinflammatory metabolites in mice. In addition, EPA + FuOx caused a reduction in CSC/CSLC population. The growth reduction by this regimen is the result of increased apoptosis as evidenced by PARP cleavage. Furthermore, increased pPTEN, decreased pAkt, normalization of ?-catenin expression, localization, and transcriptional activity by EPA suggests a role for the PTEN-Akt axis and Wnt signaling in regulating this process. Our data suggest that EPA by itself or in combination with FuOx could be an effective preventive strategy for recurring colorectal cancer. Cancer Prev Res; 7(11); 1138-48. ©2014 AACR.
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Targeting CSCs in tumor microenvironment: the potential role of ROS-associated miRNAs in tumor aggressiveness.
Curr Stem Cell Res Ther
PUBLISHED: 07-30-2014
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Reactive oxygen species (ROS) have been widely considered as critical cellular signaling molecules involving in various biological processes such as cell growth, differentiation, proliferation, apoptosis, and angiogenesis. The homeostasis of ROS is critical to maintain normal biological processes. Increased production of ROS, namely oxidative stress, due to either endogenous or exogenous sources causes irreversible damage of bio-molecules such as DNA, proteins, lipids, and sugars, leading to genomic instability, genetic mutation, and altered gene expression, eventually contributing to tumorigenesis. A great amount of experimental studies in vitro and in vivo have produced solid evidence supporting that oxidative stress is strongly associated with increased tumor cell growth, treatment resistance, and metastasis, and all of which contribute to tumor aggressiveness. More recently, the data have indicated that altered production of ROS is also associated with cancer stem cells (CSCs), epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT), and hypoxia, the most common features or phenomena in tumorigenesis and tumor progression. However, the exact mechanism by which ROS is involved in the regulation of CSC and EMT characteristics as well as hypoxia- and, especially, HIF-mediated pathways is not well known. Emerging evidence suggests the role of miRNAs in tumorigenesis and progression of human tumors. Recently, the data have indicated that altered productions of ROS are associated with deregulated expression of miRNAs, suggesting their potential roles in the regulation of ROS production. Therefore, targeting ROS mediated through the deregulation of miRNAs by novel approaches or by naturally occurring anti-oxidant agents such as genistein could provide a new therapeutic approach for the prevention and/or treatment of human malignancies. In this article, we will discuss the potential role of miRNAs in the regulation of ROS production during tumorigenesis. Finally, we will discuss the role of genistein, as a potent anti-tumor agent in the regulation of ROS production during tumorigenesis and tumor development.
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Differentially expressed miRNAs in cancer-stem-like cells: markers for tumor cell aggressiveness of pancreatic cancer.
Stem Cells Dev.
PUBLISHED: 06-06-2014
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Pancreatic cancer (PC) is one of the most deadly cancers. The higher mortality is in part due to treatment resistance and early onset of metastasis. The existence of cancer-stem-like cells (CSLCs) has been widely accepted to be responsible for tumor aggressiveness in PC. Emerging evidence suggests that CSLCs have the capacity for increased cell growth, cell migration/invasion, metastasis, and treatment resistance, which leads to poor clinical outcome. However, the molecular role of CSLCs in tumor development and progression is poorly understood. Therefore, mechanistic understanding, and targeted killing of CSLCs may provide a newer therapeutic strategy for the treatment of PC. It has been well accepted that microRNAs (miRNAs) play critical roles during tumor development and progression through deregulation of multiple genes. Moreover, deregulated expression of miRNAs may also play a key role in the regulation of CSLC characteristics and functions. Here we show that isolated CD44(+)/CD133(+)/EpCAM(+) cells (triple-marker-positive cells) from human PC cell lines, MiaPaCa-2 and L3.6pl cells, display aggressive characteristics, such as increased cell growth, clonogenicity, cell migration, and self-renewal capacity, which is consistent with overexpression of CSLC signatures/markers. We also found deregulated expression of over 400 miRNAs, including let-7, miR-30, miR-125b, and miR-335, in CSLCs. As a proof-of-concept, knockdown of miR-125b resulted in the inhibition of tumor cell aggressiveness of CSLCs (triple-marker-positive cells), consistent with the downregulation of CD44, EpCAM, EZH2, and snail. These results clearly suggest the importance of miRNAs in the regulation of CSLC characteristics, and may serve as novel targets for therapy.
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Deregulation of miR-146a expression in a mouse model of pancreatic cancer affecting EGFR signaling.
Cancer Lett.
PUBLISHED: 04-09-2014
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Aberrant expression of microRNAs (miRNAs) plays important roles in the development and progression of pancreatic cancer (PC). Expression analysis of miR-146a in human PC tissues showed decreased expression in about 80% of samples compared to corresponding non-cancerous tissue. Moreover, expression of miR-146a in eight PC cell lines, and in pancreatic tissues obtained from transgenic mouse models of K-Ras (K), Pdx1-Cre (C), K-Ras;Pdx1-Cre (KC) and K-Ras;Pdx1-Cre;INK4a/Arf (KCI), showed down-regulation of miR-146a expression in KCI mice which was in part led to over-expression of its target gene, epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR). Treatment of PC cells with CDF, a novel synthetic compound, led to re-expression of miR-146a, resulting in the down-regulation of EGFR expression. Moreover, re-expression of miR-146a by stable transfection or treatment with CDF in vivo (xenograft animal model) resulted in decreased tumor growth which was consistent with reduced EGFR, ERK1, ERK2, and K-Ras expression. Further knock-down of miR-146a in AsPC-1 cells led to the up-regulation of EGFR expression and showed increased clonogenic growth. In addition, knock-down of EGFR by EGFR siRNA transfection of parental AsPC-1 cells and AsPC-1 cells stably transfected with pre-miR-146a resulted in decreased invasive capacity, which was further confirmed by reduced luciferase activity in cells transfected with pMIR-Luc reporter vector containing miR-146a binding site. Collectively, these results suggest that the loss of expression of miR-146a is a fundamental mechanism for over-expression of EGFR signaling and that re-expression of miR-146a by CDF treatment could be useful in designing personalized strategy for the treatment of human PC.
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Pancreatic cancer stem-like cells display aggressive behavior mediated via activation of FoxQ1.
J. Biol. Chem.
PUBLISHED: 04-09-2014
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Subpopulations of cancer stem cells (CSCs) or cancer stem-like cells (CSLCs) have been identified from most tumors, including pancreatic cancer (PC), and the existence of these cells is clinically relevant. Emerging evidence suggests that CSLCs participate in cell growth/proliferation, migration/invasion, metastasis, and chemo-radiotherapy resistance, ultimately contributing to poor clinical outcome. However, the pathogenesis and biological significance of CSLCs in PC has not been well characterized. In the present study, we found that isolated triple-marker-positive (CD44(+)/CD133(+)/EpCAM(+)) cells of human PC MiaPaCa-2 and L3.6pl cells behave as CSLCs. These CSLCs exhibit aggressive behavior, such as increased cell growth, migration, clonogenicity, and self-renewal capacity. The mRNA expression profiling analysis showed that CSLCs (CD44(+)/CD133(+)/EpCAM(+)) exhibit differential expression of more than 1,600 mRNAs, including FoxQ1, compared with the triple-marker-negative (CD44(-)/CD133(-)/EpCAM(-)) cells. The knockdown of FoxQ1 by its siRNA in CSLCs resulted in the inhibition of aggressive behavior, consistent with the inhibition of EpCAM and Snail expression. Mouse xenograft tumor studies showed that CSLCs have a 100-fold higher potential for tumor formation and rapid tumor growth, consistent with overexpression of CSC-associated markers/mediators, including FoxQ1, compared with its parental MiaPaCa-2 cells. The inhibition of FoxQ1 attenuated tumor formation and growth, and expression of CSC markers in the xenograft tumor derived from CSLCs of MiaPaCa-2 cells. These data clearly suggest the role of differentially expressed genes in the regulation of CSLC characteristics, further suggesting that targeting some of these genes could be important for the development of novel therapies for achieving better treatment outcome of PC.
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Perspectives on the role of isoflavones in prostate cancer.
AAPS J
PUBLISHED: 04-02-2013
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Isoflavones have been investigated in detail for their role in the prevention and therapy of prostate cancer. This is primarily because of the overwhelming data connecting high dietary isoflavone intake with reduced risk of developing prostate cancer. A number of investigations have evaluated the mechanism(s) of anticancer action of isoflavones such as genistein, daidzein, biochanin A, equol, etc., in various prostate cancer models, both in vitro and in vivo. Genistein quickly jumped to the forefront of isoflavone cancer research, but the initial enthusiasm was followed by reports on its contradictory prometastatic and tumor-promoting effects. Use of soy isoflavone mixture has been advocated as an alternative, wherein daidzein can negate harmful effects of genistein. Recent research indicates a novel role of genistein and other isoflavones in the potentiation of radiation therapy, epigenetic regulation of key tumor suppressors and oncogenes, and the modulation of miRNAs, epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition, and cancer stem cells, which has renewed the interest of cancer researchers in this class of anticancer compounds. This comprehensive review article summarizes our current understanding of the role of isoflavones in prostate cancer research.
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Tumor-initiating cells and FZD8 play a major role in drug resistance in triple-negative breast cancer.
Mol. Cancer Ther.
PUBLISHED: 02-27-2013
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Triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) studies have shown that neoadjuvant chemotherapy before surgery was effective in the minority of women, whereas the majority who had residual tumor had a relatively poor outcome. To identify the mechanism by which residual cancer cells survive chemotherapy, we initially conducted gene expression profiling using the CRL2335 TNBC cell line derived from a squamous breast carcinoma before and after treatment with cisplatin plus TRAIL. We found a significant increase in the expression of FZD8, one of Wnt receptors, and its downstream targets LEF1 and TCF in residual CRL2335 tumor cells after treatment with cisplatin plus TRAIL. Increased FZD8 levels were further confirmed in other TNBC cell lines. Inhibition of FZD8 by siRNA in CRL2335 cells in the presence of cisplatin plus TRAIL reduced ?-catenin and survivin levels and increased apoptosis compared with scrambled siRNA-treated cells. In vivo data show that cisplatin plus TRAIL treatment significantly reduces tumor volume in NOD/SCID mice. However, we found that cisplatin plus TRAIL treatment predominantly eliminated non-tumor-initiating cells, as shown by whole-body fluorescent imaging of mice injected with mammosphere-forming CRL2335 cells stably transfected with DsRed. This led to TIC enrichment in residual tumors, as confirmed by immunostaining for TIC markers. Moreover, an increase in FZD8 expression was observed in residual tumors treated with cisplatin and TRAIL. Taken together, our findings suggest that FZD8-mediated Wnt signaling may play a major role in mediating resistance to chemotherapy, making it a potential target to enhance chemotherapeutic efficacy in patients with TNBCs.
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Activated K-Ras and INK4a/Arf deficiency promote aggressiveness of pancreatic cancer by induction of EMT consistent with cancer stem cell phenotype.
J. Cell. Physiol.
PUBLISHED: 02-15-2013
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Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) is one of the most frequently diagnosed cancers and the fourth leading cause of cancer-related death in the United States, suggesting that there is an urgent need to design novel strategies for achieving better treatment outcome of patients diagnosed with PDAC. Our previous study has shown that activation of Notch and NF-?B play a critical role in the development of PDAC in the compound K-Ras(G12D) and Ink4a/Arf deficient transgenic mice. However, the exact molecular mechanism by which mutated K-Ras and Ink4a/Arf deficiency contribute to progression of PDAC remains largely elusive. In the present study, we used multiple methods, such as real-time RT-PCR, Western blotting assay, and immunohistochemistry to gain further mechanistic insight. We found that the deletion of Ink4a/Arf in K-Ras(G12D) expressing mice led to high expression of PDGF-D signaling pathway in the tumor and tumor-derived cell line (RInk-1 cells). Furthermore, PDGF-D knock-down in RInk-1 cells resulted in the inhibition of pancreatosphere formation and down-regulation of EZH2, CD44, EpCAM, and vimentin. Moreover, we demonstrated that epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) was induced in the compound mice, which is linked with aggressiveness of PDAC. In addition, we demonstrated that tumors from compound transgenic mice have higher expression of cancer stem cell (CSC) markers. These results suggest that the acquisition of EMT phenotype and induction of CSC characteristics could be linked with the aggressiveness of PDAC mediated in part through the activation of PDGF-D, signaling.
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CXCR2 macromolecular complex in pancreatic cancer: a potential therapeutic target in tumor growth.
Transl Oncol
PUBLISHED: 01-17-2013
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The signaling mediated by the chemokine receptor CXC chemokine receptor 2 (CXCR2) plays an important role in promoting the progression of many cancers, including pancreatic cancer, one of the most lethal human malignancies. CXCR2 possesses a consensus PSD-95/DlgA/ZO-1 (PDZ) motif at its carboxyl termini, which might interact with potential PDZ scaffold/adaptor proteins. We have previously reported that CXCR2 PDZ motif-mediated protein interaction is an important regulator for neutrophil functions. Here, using a series of biochemical assays, we demonstrate that CXCR2 is physically coupled to its downstream effector phospholipase C-?3 (PLC-?3) that is mediated by PDZ scaffold protein Na(+)/H(+) exchange regulatory factor 1 (NHERF1) into a macromolecular signaling complex both in vitro and in pancreatic cancer cells. We also observe that disrupting the CXCR2 complex, by gene delivery or peptide delivery of exogenous CXCR2 C-tail, significantly inhibits the biologic functions of pancreatic cancer cells (i.e., proliferation and invasion) in a PDZ motif-dependent manner. In addition, using a human pancreatic tumor xenograft model, we show that gene delivery of CXCR2 C-tail sequence (containing the PDZ motif) by adeno-associated virus type 2 viral vector potently suppresses human pancreatic tumor growth in immunodeficient mice. In summary, our results suggest the existence of a physical and functional coupling of CXCR2 and PLC-?3 mediated through NHERF1, forming a macromolecular complex that is critical for efficient and specific CXCR2 signaling in pancreatic cancer progression. Disrupting this CXCR2 complex could represent a novel and effective treatment strategy against pancreatic cancer.
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Synthesis, characterization and anti-tumor activity of novel thymoquinone analogs against pancreatic cancer.
Bioorg. Med. Chem. Lett.
PUBLISHED: 01-09-2013
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Thymoquinone (TQ), isolated from the seeds of Nigella sativa, show moderate efficacy against pancreatic cancer. In the present work we report synthesis and characterization of novel TQ analogs appended with gallate and fluorogallate pharmacophores and evaluation of their effects against pancreatic cancer cell lines for cell viability and induction of apoptosis. The efficacy of the analogs alone or in combination with Gemcitabine was assessed in vitro. LC-MS spectra of ATQTHB and ATQTFB showed major peaks corresponding to expected M+1 fragment at 316.34 and 322.34 respectively. Molecular docking studies revealed good fit for these analogs in the COX-2 protein cavity with better binding energies compared to parent TQ compound. Present TQ analogs exhibit superior anti-proliferative activity, excellent chemo-sensitizing activity against pancreatic cancer in vitro and in combination with Gemcitabine.
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Garcinol sensitizes human pancreatic adenocarcinoma cells to gemcitabine in association with microRNA signatures.
Mol Nutr Food Res
PUBLISHED: 01-07-2013
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Alterations in microRNA (miRNA/miR) genes are of biological importance in the pathophysiology of cancers, including pancreatic cancer (PaCa). Although growing evidence supports the role of miRNA in cancer, their response to dietary phytochemicals is less known. Previously, we showed that garcinol induces PaCa cell growth arrest and apoptosis in vitro. The present study, discusses chemo-sensitization by garcinol in synergism with first-line PaCa drug, gemcitabine. The miRNA expression profile of gemcitabine-resistant Panc-1 cells treated with garcinol and/or gemcitabine was also evaluated.
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Curcumin analogue CDF inhibits pancreatic tumor growth by switching on suppressor microRNAs and attenuating EZH2 expression.
Cancer Res.
PUBLISHED: 11-22-2011
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The histone methyltransferase EZH2 is a central epigenetic regulator of cell survival, proliferation, and cancer stem cell (CSC) function. EZH2 expression is increased in various human cancers, including highly aggressive pancreatic cancers, but the mechanisms underlying for its biologic effects are not yet well understood. In this study, we probed EZH2 function in pancreatic cancer using diflourinated-curcumin (CDF), a novel analogue of the turmeric spice component curcumin that has antioxidant properties. CDF decreased pancreatic cancer cell survival, clonogenicity, formation of pancreatospheres, invasive cell migration, and CSC function in human pancreatic cancer cells. These effects were associated with decreased expression of EZH2 and increased expression of a panel of tumor-suppressive microRNAs (miRNA), including let-7a, b, c, d, miR-26a, miR-101, miR-146a, andmiR-200b, c that are typically lost in pancreatic cancer. Mechanistic investigations revealed that reexpression of miR-101 was sufficient to limit the expression of EZH2 and the proinvasive cell surface adhesion molecule EpCAM. In an orthotopic xenograft model of human pancreatic cancer, administration of CDF inhibited tumor growth in a manner associated with reduced expression of EZH2, Notch-1, CD44, EpCAM, and Nanog and increased expression of let-7, miR-26a, and miR-101. Taken together, our results indicated that CDF inhibited pancreatic cancer tumor growth and aggressiveness by targeting an EZH2-miRNA regulatory circuit for epigenetically controlled gene expression.
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Metformin inhibits cell proliferation, migration and invasion by attenuating CSC function mediated by deregulating miRNAs in pancreatic cancer cells.
Cancer Prev Res (Phila)
PUBLISHED: 11-15-2011
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Pancreatic cancer is the fourth leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the United States, which is, in part, due to intrinsic (de novo) and extrinsic (acquired) resistance to conventional therapeutics, suggesting that innovative treatment strategies are required for overcoming therapeutic resistance to improve overall survival of patients. Oral administration of metformin in patients with diabetes mellitus has been reported to be associated with reduced risk of pancreatic cancer and that metformin has been reported to kill cancer stem cells (CSC); however, the exact molecular mechanism(s) has not been fully elucidated. In the current study, we examined the effect of metformin on cell proliferation, cell migration and invasion, and self-renewal capacity of CSCs and further assessed the expression of CSC marker genes and microRNAs (miRNA) in human pancreatic cancer cells. We found that metformin significantly decreased cell survival, clonogenicity, wound-healing capacity, sphere-forming capacity (pancreatospheres), and increased disintegration of pancreatospheres in both gemcitabine-sensitive and gemcitabine-resistant pancreatic cancer cells. Metformin also decreased the expression of CSC markers,CD44, EpCAM,EZH2, Notch-1, Nanog and Oct4, and caused reexpression of miRNAs (let-7a,let-7b, miR-26a, miR-101, miR-200b, and miR-200c) that are typically lost in pancreatic cancer and especially in pancreatospheres. We also found that reexpression of miR-26a by transfection led to decreased expression of EZH2 and EpCAM in pancreatic cancer cells. These results clearly suggest that the biologic effects of metformin are mediated through reexpression of miRNAs and decreased expression of CSC-specific genes, suggesting that metformin could be useful for overcoming therapeutic resistance of pancreatic cancer cells.
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B-DIM impairs radiation-induced survival pathways independently of androgen receptor expression and augments radiation efficacy in prostate cancer.
Cancer Lett.
PUBLISHED: 10-10-2011
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Increased consumption of cruciferous vegetables is associated with decreased risk in prostate cancer (PCa). The active compound in cruciferous vegetables appears to be the self dimerized product [3,3-diindolylmethane (DIM)] of indole-3-carbinol (I3C). Nutritional grade B-DIM (absorption-enhanced) has proven safe in a Phase I trial in PCa. We investigated the anti-cancer activity of B-DIM as a new biological approach to improve the effects of radiotherapy for hormone refractory prostate cancer cells, which were either positive or negative for androgen receptor (AR) expression. B-DIM inhibited cell growth in a dose-dependent manner in both PC-3 (AR-) and C4-2B (AR+) cell lines. B-DIM was effective at increasing radiation-induced cell killing in both cell lines, independently of AR expression. B-DIM inhibited NF-?B and HIF-1? DNA activities and blocked radiation-induced activation of these transcription factors in both PC-3 and C4-2B cells. In C4-2B (AR+) cells, AR expression and nuclear localization were significantly increased by radiation. However, B-DIM abrogated the radiation-induced AR increased expression and trafficking to the nucleus, which was consistent with decreased PSA secretion. In vivo, treatment of PC-3 prostate tumors in nude mice with B-DIM and radiation resulted in significant primary tumor growth inhibition and control of metastasis to para-aortic lymph nodes. These studies demonstrate that B-DIM augments radiation-induced cell killing and tumor growth inhibition. B-DIM impairs critical survival signaling pathways activated by radiation, leading to enhanced cell killing. These novel observations suggest that B-DIM could be used as a safe compound to enhance the efficacy of radiotherapy for castrate-resistant PCa.
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The immunological contribution of NF-?B within the tumor microenvironment: a potential protective role of zinc as an anti-tumor agent.
Biochim. Biophys. Acta
PUBLISHED: 09-26-2011
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Over decades, cancer treatment has been mainly focused on targeting cancer cells and not much attention to host tumor microenvironment. Recent advances suggest that the tumor microenvironment requires in-depth investigation for understanding the interactions between tumor cell biology and immunobiology in order to optimize therapeutic approaches. Tumor microenvironment consists of cancer cells and tumor associated reactive fibroblasts, infiltrating non-cancer cells, secreted soluble factors or molecules, and non-cellular support materials. Tumor associated host immune cells such as Th(1), Th(2), Th17, regulatory cells, dendritic cells, macrophages, and myeloid-derived suppressor cells are major components of the tumor microenvironment. Accumulating evidence suggests that these tumor associated immune cells may play important roles in cancer development and progression. However, the exact functions of these cells in the tumor microenvironment are poorly understood. In the tumor microenvironment, NF-?B plays an important role in cancer development and progression because this is a major transcription factor which regulates immune functions within the tumor microenvironment. In this review, we will focus our discussion on the immunological contribution of NF-?B in tumor associated host immune cells within the tumor microenvironment. We will also discuss the potential protective role of zinc, a well-known immune response mediator, in the regulation of these immune cells and cancer cells in the tumor microenvironment especially because zinc could be useful for conditioning the tumor microenvironment toward innovative cancer therapy.
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Network modeling of CDF treated pancreatic cancer cells reveals a novel c-myc-p73 dependent apoptotic mechanism.
Am J Transl Res
PUBLISHED: 06-29-2011
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Systems biology and molecular network modeling are important tools that are finding application in anti-cancer drug discovery. These technologies can be utilized to map and evaluate the entire set of pathways modulated by drugs in cancer cells without loosing key details. Such integrated approaches are especially useful in understanding the mechanism of action of agents that do not have a defined target. Our novel compound CDF (a synthetic analogue of curcumin), is one such multi-targeted agent with proven anti-cancer activity in vitro and in vivo. However, its mechanism of action is not fully understood, and thus a thorough analysis of key pathways targeted by CDF would be important for developing targeted and tailored therapy in the future. Applying Ingenuity Pathway Analysis (IPA), we have mapped the pathways altered by CDF treatment of BxPC-3 pancreatic cancer (PC) cells. Illumina HT-12 microar-rays were performed on RNA extracted from CDF treated cells. IPA analysis of gene expression at early time point (24 hrs) revealed deregulation of genes in the c-Myc hub. Western blot analysis validated the activation of c-Myc, p73 and its downstream pro-apoptotic effector Bax with simultaneous down-regulation of Bcl-2 in two distinct pancreatic cancer cell lines (BxPC-3 and Colo-357). In order to further delineate the role of c-Myc in inducing apoptosis, siRNA silencing technology was used. As expected, c-Myc siRNA knockdown resulted in abrogation of the growth inhibitory and apoptotic potential of CDF. In conclusion, our results demonstrate a novel c-Myc driven apoptotic network activated by CDF in PC cells that is independent of wild-type p53, and thus warrants further investigation on the clinical utility of CDF.
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Attenuation of multi-targeted proliferation-linked signaling by 3,3-diindolylmethane (DIM): from bench to clinic.
Mutat. Res.
PUBLISHED: 06-06-2011
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Emerging evidence provide credible support in favor of the potential role of bioactive products derived from ingesting cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, brussel sprouts, cauliflower and cabbage. Among many compounds, 3,3-diindolylmethane (DIM) is generated in the acidic environment of the stomach following dimerization of indole-3-carbinol (I3C) monomers present in these classes of vegetables. Both I3C and DIM have been investigated for their use in preventing, inhibiting, and reversing the progression of cancer - as a chemopreventive agent. In this review, we summarize an updated, wide-ranging pleiotropic anti-tumor and biological effects elicited by DIM against tumor cells. It is unfeasible to point one single target as basis of cellular target of action of DIM. We emphasize key cellular and molecular events that are effectively modulated in the direction of inducing apoptosis and suppressing cell proliferation. Collectively, DIM orchestrates signaling through Ah receptor, NF-?B/Wnt/Akt/mTOR pathways impinging on cell cycle arrest, modulation of key cytochrome P450 enzymes, altering angiogenesis, invasion, metastasis and epigenetic behavior of cancer cells. The ability of DIM to selectively induce tumor cells to undergo apoptosis has been observed in preclinical models, and thus it has been speculated in improving the therapeutic efficacy of other anticancer agents that have diverse molecular targets. Consequently, DIM has moved through preclinical development into Phase I clinical trials, thereby suggesting that DIM could be a promising and novel agent either alone or as an adjunct to conventional therapeutics such as chemo-radio and targeted therapies. An important development has been the availability of DIM formulation with superior bioavailability for humans. Therefore, DIM appears to be a promising chemopreventive agent or chemo-radio-sensitizer for the prevention of tumor recurrence and/or for the treatment of human malignancies.
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Network modeling of MDM2 inhibitor-oxaliplatin combination reveals biological synergy in wt-p53 solid tumors.
Oncotarget
PUBLISHED: 05-31-2011
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Earlier we had shown that the MDM2 inhibitor (MI-219) belonging to the spiro-oxindole family can synergistically enhance the efficacy of platinum chemotherapeutics leading to 50% tumor free survival in a genetically complex pancreatic ductaladenocarcinoma (PDAC) xenograft model. In this report, we have taken a systems and network modeling approach in order to understand central mechanisms behind MI219-oxaliplatin synergy with validation in PDAC, colon and breast cancer cell lines. Microarray profiling of drug treatments (MI-219, oxaliplatin or their combination) in capan-2 cells reveal a similar unique set of gene alterations that is duplicated in other solid tumor cells. As single agent, MI-219 or oxaliplatin induced alterations in 48 and 761 genes respectively. The combination treatment resulted in 767 gene alterations with emergence of 286 synergy unique genes. Ingenuity network modeling of combination and synergy unique genes showed the crucial role of five key local networks CREB, CARF, EGR1, NF-kB and E-Cadherin. Compared to single agents the combination treatment super induced p53 and p21 confirming functional synergy. Further, the network signatures were validated at the protein level in all three cell lines. Individually silencing central nodes in these five hubsinterfered with MI-219-oxaliplatin activity confirming their critical role in aiding p53 mediated apoptotic response. We anticipate that our MI219-oxaliplatin network blueprints can be clinically translated in the rationale design and application of this unique therapeutic combination in a genetically pre-defined subset of patients.
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Garcinol-induced apoptosis in prostate and pancreatic cancer cells is mediated by NF- kappaB signaling.
Front Biosci (Elite Ed)
PUBLISHED: 05-31-2011
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Garcinol, obtained from Garcinia indica, is a potent antioxidant. Its anticancer activity has been investigated; however, there is no published report on its action against prostate and pancreatic cancer cells. We have earlier reported its activity against breast cancer cells, and here we tested our hypothesis that garcinol could inhibit cell proliferation and induce apoptosis in prostate as well as pancreatic cancer cells. Using multiple techniques such as MTT, Histone-DNA ELISA, activated caspase assays, clonogenic assays and EMSA, we investigated the mechanism of apoptosis-inducing effect of garcinol in prostate (LNCaP, C4-2B and PC3) and pancreatic (BxPC-3) cancer cells. We found that garcinol inhibited cell growth of all the cell lines tested with a concomitant induction of apoptosis in a dose-dependent manner. Down-regulation of NF-kappaB signaling pathway appears to be the mechanism of apoptosis-induction because garcinol inhibited constitutive levels of NF-betaB activity, which was consistent with down-regulation of NF-betaB-regulated genes. A significant decrease in the colony forming ability of all the cell lines was also observed, suggesting the possible application of this compound against metastatic disease. In summary, our results provide pre-clinical evidence to support the use of garcinol against human prostate and pancreatic cancer, thus meriting its further investigation as a potential chemo-preventive and/or therapeutic agent.
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Over-expression of FoxM1 leads to epithelial-mesenchymal transition and cancer stem cell phenotype in pancreatic cancer cells.
J. Cell. Biochem.
PUBLISHED: 04-20-2011
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FoxM1 is known to play important role in the development and progression of many malignancies including pancreatic cancer. Studies have shown that the acquisition of epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT) phenotype and induction of cancer stem cell (CSC) or cancer stem-like cell phenotypes are highly inter-related, and contributes to drug resistance, tumor recurrence, and metastasis. The molecular mechanism(s) by which FoxM1 contributes to the acquisition of EMT phenotype and induction of CSC self-renewal capacity is poorly understood. Therefore, we established FoxM1 over-expressing pancreatic cancer (AsPC-1) cells, which showed increased cell growth, clonogenicity, and cell migration. Moreover, over-expression of FoxM1 led to the acquisition of EMT phenotype by activation of mesenchymal cell markers, ZEB1, ZEB2, Snail2, E-cadherin, and vimentin, which is consistent with increased sphere-forming (pancreatospheres) capacity and expression of CSC surface markers (CD44 and EpCAM). We also found that over-expression of FoxM1 led to decreased expression of miRNAs (let-7a, let-7b, let-7c, miR-200b, and miR-200c); however, re-expression of miR-200b inhibited the expression of ZEB1, ZEB2, vimentin as well as FoxM1, and induced the expression of E-cadherin, leading to the reversal of EMT phenotype. Finally, we found that genistein, a natural chemo-preventive agent, inhibited cell growth, clonogenicity, cell migration and invasion, EMT phenotype, and formation of pancreatospheres consistent with reduced expression of CD44 and EpCAM. These results suggest, for the first time, that FoxM1 over-expression is responsible for the acquisition of EMT and CSC phenotype, which is in part mediated through the regulation of miR-200b and these processes, could be easily attenuated by genistein.
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Activated K-ras and INK4a/Arf deficiency cooperate during the development of pancreatic cancer by activation of Notch and NF-?B signaling pathways.
PLoS ONE
PUBLISHED: 04-12-2011
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Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) is the fourth leading cause of cancer-related death in the United States, suggesting that novel strategies for the prevention and treatment of PDAC are urgently needed. K-ras mutations are observed in >90% of pancreatic cancer, suggesting its role in the initiation and early developmental stages of PDAC. In order to gain mechanistic insight as to the role of mutated K-ras, several mouse models have been developed by targeting a conditionally mutated K-ras(G12D) for recapitulating PDAC. A significant co-operativity has been shown in tumor development and metastasis in a compound mouse model with activated K-ras and Ink4a/Arf deficiency. However, the molecular mechanism(s) by which K-ras and Ink4a/Arf deficiency contribute to PDAC has not been fully elucidated.
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Notch-1 induces epithelial-mesenchymal transition consistent with cancer stem cell phenotype in pancreatic cancer cells.
Cancer Lett.
PUBLISHED: 03-03-2011
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Activation of Notch-1 is known to be associated with the development and progression of human malignancies including pancreatic cancer. Emerging evidence suggest that the acquisition of epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) phenotype and induction of cancer stem cell (CSC) or cancer stem-like cell phenotype are interrelated and contributes to tumor recurrence and drug resistance. The molecular mechanism(s) by which Notch-1 contributes to the acquisition of EMT phenotype and CSC self-renewal capacity has not been fully elucidated. Here we show that forced over-expression of Notch-1 leads to increased cell growth, clonogenicity, migration and invasion of AsPC-1 cells. Moreover, over-expression of Notch-1 led to the induction of EMT phenotype by activation of mesenchymal cell markers such as ZEB1, CD44, EpCAM, and Hes-1. Here we also report, for the first time, that over-expression of Notch-1 leads to increased expression of miR-21, and decreased expression of miR-200b, miR-200c, let-7a, let-7b, and let-7c. Re-expression of miR-200b led to decreased expression of ZEB1, and vimentin, and increased expression of E-cadherin. Over-expression of Notch-1 also increased the formation of pancreatospheres consistent with expression of CSC surface markers CD44 and EpCAM. Finally, we found that genistein, a known natural anti-tumor agent inhibited cell growth, clonogenicity, migration, invasion, EMT phenotype, formation of pancreatospheres and expression of CD44 and EpCAM. These results suggest that the activation of Notch-1 signaling contributes to the acquisition of EMT phenotype, which is in part mediated through the regulation of miR-200b and CSC self-renewal capacity, and these processes could be attenuated by genistein treatment.
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Anti-tumor activity of a novel compound-CDF is mediated by regulating miR-21, miR-200, and PTEN in pancreatic cancer.
PLoS ONE
PUBLISHED: 02-10-2011
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The existence of cancer stem cells (CSCs) or cancer stem-like cells in a tumor mass is believed to be responsible for tumor recurrence because of their intrinsic and extrinsic drug-resistance characteristics. Therefore, targeted killing of CSCs would be a newer strategy for the prevention of tumor recurrence and/or treatment by overcoming drug-resistance. We have developed a novel synthetic compound-CDF, which showed greater bioavailability in animal tissues such as pancreas, and also induced cell growth inhibition and apoptosis, which was mediated by inactivation of NF-?B, COX-2, and VEGF in pancreatic cancer (PC) cells.
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Enhanced anticancer effect of the combination of cisplatin and TRAIL in triple-negative breast tumor cells.
Mol. Cancer Ther.
PUBLISHED: 01-20-2011
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Women with triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) have a worse prognosis compared with other breast cancer subtypes. Hormonal or Herceptin-based therapies were found to be ineffective because of the loss of target receptors, such as ER, PR, and HER-2 amplification. Conventional chemo- and/ or radiation therapy also seems to have limited efficacy in TNBC patients. We studied the effects of cisplatin plus TRAIL on 1 normal and 2 TNBC cells in vitro. The in vitro studies indicate that cisplatin plus TRAIL significantly enhanced cell death in TNBC cell lines CRL2335 and MDA-MB-468 by approximately 60%-70% compared with approximately 10%-15% in CRL8799 normal breast cell line. Treatment with cisplatin/TRAIL also inhibited the expression of EGFR, p63, survivin, Bcl-2, and Bcl-xL in TNBC cells. Specific inhibition of EGFR and/or p63 protein in TNBC cells by small interfering RNA (siRNA) does not increase TRAIL-induced apoptosis. However, inhibition of survivin by siRNA enhances TRAIL-induced apoptosis. These observations suggested the possibility that survivin played an important role in cisplatin plus TRAIL-induced apoptosis in TNBC cells. In vivo experiments, treatment of mice with cisplatin plus TRAIL resulted in a significant inhibition of CRL2335 xenograft tumors compared with untreated control tumors. Taken together the data suggest that cisplatin plus TRAIL treatment have the potential of providing a new strategy for improving the therapeutic outcome in TNBC patients.
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DNA polymerase ? as a novel target for chemotherapeutic intervention of colorectal cancer.
PLoS ONE
PUBLISHED: 01-03-2011
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Chemoprevention presents a major strategy for the medical management of colorectal cancer. Most drugs used for colorectal cancer therapy induce DNA-alkylation damage, which is primarily repaired by the base excision repair (BER) pathway. Thus, blockade of BER pathway is an attractive option to inhibit the spread of colorectal cancer. Using an in silico approach, we performed a structure-based screen by docking small-molecules onto DNA polymerase ? (Pol-?) and identified a potent anti-Pol-? compound, NSC-124854. Our goal was to examine whether NSC-124854 could enhance the therapeutic efficacy of DNA-alkylating agent, Temozolomide (TMZ), by blocking BER. First, we determined the specificity of NSC-124854 for Pol-? by examining in vitro activities of APE1, Fen1, DNA ligase I, and Pol-?-directed single nucleotide (SN)- and long-patch (LP)-BER. Second, we investigated the effect of NSC-124854 on the efficacy of TMZ to inhibit the growth of mismatch repair (MMR)-deficient and MMR-proficient colon cancer cell lines using in vitro clonogenic assays. Third, we explored the effect of NSC-124854 on TMZ-induced in vivo tumor growth inhibition of MMR-deficient and MMR-proficient colonic xenografts implanted in female homozygous SCID mice. Our data showed that NSC-124854 has high specificity to Pol-? and blocked Pol-?-directed SN- and LP-BER activities in in vitro reconstituted system. Furthermore, NSC-124854 effectively induced the sensitivity of TMZ to MMR-deficient and MMR-proficient colon cancer cells both in vitro cell culture and in vivo xenograft models. Our findings suggest a potential novel strategy for the development of highly specific structure-based inhibitor for the prevention of colonic tumor progression.
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Pancreatic cancer: understanding and overcoming chemoresistance.
Nat Rev Gastroenterol Hepatol
PUBLISHED: 11-23-2010
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Pancreatic cancer is a highly aggressive malignancy. This feature is believed to be partly attributable to the chemotherapy-resistant characteristics of specific subgroups of pancreatic cancer cells, namely those with an epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) phenotype and cancer stem cells. Accumulating evidence suggests that several new and emerging concepts might be important in the drug-resistant phenotype of these cell types. An understanding of the molecular mechanisms underlying drug resistance in patients with pancreatic cancer might help researchers to devise novel strategies to overcome such resistance. In particular, microRNAs (miRNAs) seem to be critical regulators of drug resistance in pancreatic cancer cells. Selective and targeted elimination of cells with an EMT phenotype and cancer stem cells could be achieved by regulating the expression of specific miRNAs.
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The complexities of obesity and diabetes with the development and progression of pancreatic cancer.
Biochim. Biophys. Acta
PUBLISHED: 10-28-2010
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Pancreatic cancer (PC) is one of the most lethal malignant diseases with the worst prognosis. It is ranked as the fourth leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the United States. Many risk factors have been associated with PC. Interestingly, large numbers of epidemiological studies suggest that obesity and diabetes, especially type-2 diabetes, are positively associated with increased risk of PC. Similarly, these chronic diseases (obesity, diabetes, and cancer) are also a major public health concern. In the U.S. population, 50 percent are overweight, 30 percent are medically obese, and 10 percent have diabetes mellitus (DM). Therefore, obesity and DM have been considered as potential risk factors for cancers; however, the focus of this article is restricted to PC. Although the mechanisms responsible for the development of these chronic diseases leading to the development of PC are not fully understood, the biological importance of the activation of insulin, insulin like growth factor-1 (IGF-1) and its receptor (IGF-1R) signaling pathways in insulin resistance mechanism and subsequent induction of compensatory hyperinsulinemia has been proposed. Therefore, targeting insulin/IGF-1 signaling with anti-diabetic drugs for lowering blood insulin levels and reversal of insulin resistance could be useful strategy for the prevention and/or treatment of PC. A large number of studies have demonstrated that the administration of anti-diabetic drugs such as metformin and thiazolidinediones (TZD) class of PPAR-? agonists decreases the risk of cancers, suggesting that these agents might be useful anti-tumor agents for the treatment of PC. In this review article, we will discuss the potential roles of metformin and TZD anti-diabetic drugs as anti-tumor agents in the context of PC and will further discuss the complexities and the possible roles of microRNAs (miRNAs) in the pathogenesis of obesity, diabetes, and PC.
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Review on molecular and therapeutic potential of thymoquinone in cancer.
Nutr Cancer
PUBLISHED: 10-07-2010
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Thymoquinone (TQ) is the predominant bioactive constituent present in black seed oil (Nigella sativa) and has been tested for its efficacy against cancer. Here, we summarize the literature about TQs molecular mechanism of action and its ability to induce apoptosis and inhibit tumor growth in preclinical models. TQ has anti-inflammatory effects, and it inhibits tumor cell proliferation through modulation of apoptosis signaling, inhibition of angiogenesis, and cell cycle arrest. Chemosensitization by TQ is mostly limited to in vitro studies, and it has potential in therapeutic strategy for cancer. The results favor efficacy and enhancement of therapeutic benefit against tumor cells resistant to therapy based on cellular targets that are molecular determinants for cancer cell survival and progression. There have been attempts to synthesize novel analogs of TQ directed toward superior effects in killing tumor cells with more enhanced chemosensitizing potential than parent TQ compound. Based on published reports, we believe that further in-depth studies are warranted including investigation of its bioavailability and Phase I toxicity profiling in human subjects. The results from such studies will be instrumental in advancing this field in support of initiating clinical trials for testing the effects of this ancient agent in cancer therapy.
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Epithelial to mesenchymal transition is mechanistically linked with stem cell signatures in prostate cancer cells.
PLoS ONE
PUBLISHED: 06-28-2010
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Current management of patients diagnosed with prostate cancer (PCa) is very effective; however, tumor recurrence with Castrate Resistant Prostate Cancer (CRPC) and subsequent metastasis lead to poor survival outcome, suggesting that there is a dire need for novel mechanistic understanding of tumor recurrence, which would be critical for designing novel therapies. The recurrence and the metastasis of PCa are tightly linked with the biology of prostate cancer stem cells or cancer-initiating cells that is reminiscent of the acquisition of Epithelial to Mesenchymal Transition (EMT) phenotype. Increasing evidence suggests that EMT-type cells share many biological characteristics with cancer stem-like cells.
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Targeting miRNAs involved in cancer stem cell and EMT regulation: An emerging concept in overcoming drug resistance.
Drug Resist. Updat.
PUBLISHED: 06-28-2010
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Although chemotherapy is an important therapeutic strategy for cancer treatment, it fails to eliminate all tumor cells due to intrinsic or acquired drug resistance, which is the most common cause of tumor recurrence. Emerging evidence suggests an intricate role of cancer stem cells (CSCs) and epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT)-type cells in anticancer drug resistance. Recent studies also demonstrated that microRNAs (miRNAs) play critical roles in the regulation of drug resistance. Here we will discuss current knowledge regarding CSCs, EMT and the role of regulation by miRNAs in the context of drug resistance, tumor recurrence and metastasis. A better understanding of the molecular intricacies of drug-resistant cells will help to design novel therapeutic strategies by selective targeting of CSCs and EMT-phenotypic cells through alterations in the expression of specific miRNAs towards eradicating tumor recurrence and metastasis. A particular promising lead is the potential synergistic combination of natural compounds that affect critical miRNAs, such as curcumin or epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG) with chemotherapeutic agents.
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Restoring sensitivity to oxaliplatin by a novel approach in gemcitabine-resistant pancreatic cancer cells in vitro and in vivo.
Int. J. Cancer
PUBLISHED: 06-04-2010
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Oxaliplatin (OxP) has been used in combination therapy with gemcitabine for the treatment of pancreatic cancer (PC), but the beneficial effect was marginal, which is believed to be due to de novo and acquired drug resistance of PC. Here, we report our in vitro and in vivo preclinical evidence in support of chemosensitization of drug-resistant cells by a nontoxic chemopreventive agent (genistein). Genistein pretreatment together with low concentration of OxP showed significant reduction in cell viability and colony formation concomitant with increased apoptosis (p < 0.01), which was highly synergistic. Drug resistance of PC is allegedly linked with both constitutive and OxP-induced activation of NF-?B, and we found that inactivation of (nuclear factor kappa B) NF-?B by genistein before treatment of cells with OxP was required for cell killing, which was consistent with the downregulation of NF-?B and its downstream antiapoptotic genes (Bcl-2, XIAPs and survivin). Most importantly, our in vivo experiments using orthotopic mouse model showed significant reduction in tumor size (p < 0.01) and reduction of locoregional lymph node metastasis by combination treatment. These results were also consistent with inactivation of NF-?B and the downregulation of NF-?B downstream genes, decreased proliferation marker (Ki-67) and increased apoptosis (TUNEL) in tumor remnants, all of which was consistent with in vitro findings. From these results, we conclude that genistein sensitizes drug-resistant PC to OxP, which is mechanistically linked with inactivation of NF-?B signaling, resulting in greater antitumor effects, and thus our data suggest that this approach could be useful in improving the treatment outcome for patients diagnosed with PC.
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Targeting Notch signaling pathway to overcome drug resistance for cancer therapy.
Biochim. Biophys. Acta
PUBLISHED: 05-24-2010
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Chemotherapy is an important therapeutic strategy for cancer treatment and remains the mainstay for the management of human malignancies; however, chemotherapy fails to eliminate all tumor cells because of intrinsic or acquired drug resistance, which is the most common cause of tumor recurrence. Recently, emerging evidences suggest that Notch signaling pathway is one of the most important signaling pathways in drug-resistant tumor cells. Moreover, down-regulation of Notch pathway could induce drug sensitivity, leading to increased inhibition of cancer cell growth, invasion, and metastasis. This article will provide a brief overview of the published evidences in support of the roles of Notch in drug resistance and will further summarize how targeting Notch by "natural agents" could become a novel and safer approach for the improvement of tumor treatment by overcoming drug resistance.
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Gemcitabine sensitivity can be induced in pancreatic cancer cells through modulation of miR-200 and miR-21 expression by curcumin or its analogue CDF.
Cancer Res.
PUBLISHED: 04-13-2010
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Curcumin induces cancer cell growth arrest and apoptosis in vitro, but its poor bioavailability in vivo limits its antitumor efficacy. We have previously evaluated the bioavailability of novel analogues of curcumin compared with curcumin, and we found that the analogue CDF exhibited greater systemic and pancreatic tissue bioavailability. In this study, we evaluated the effects of CDF or curcumin alone or in combination with gemcitabine on cell viability and apoptosis in gemcitabine-sensitive and gemcitabine-resistant pancreatic cancer (PC) cell lines. Mechanistic investigations revealed a significant reduction in cell viability in CDF-treated cells compared with curcumin-treated cells, which were also associated with the induction of apoptosis, and these results were consistent with the downregulation of Akt, cyclooxygenase-2, prostaglandin E(2), vascular endothelial growth factor, and NF-kappaB DNA binding activity. We have also documented attenuated expression of miR-200 and increased expression of miR-21 (a signature of tumor aggressiveness) in gemcitabine-resistant cells relative to gemcitabine-sensitive cells. Interestingly, CDF treatment upregulated miR-200 expression and downregulated the expression of miR-21, and the downregulation of miR-21 resulted in the induction of PTEN. These results prompt further interest in CDF as a drug modality to improve treatment outcome of patients diagnosed with PC as a result of its greater bioavailability in pancreatic tissue.
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Emerging roles of PDGF-D signaling pathway in tumor development and progression.
Biochim. Biophys. Acta
PUBLISHED: 04-03-2010
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Platelet-derived growth factor-D (PDGF-D) can regulate many cellular processes, including cell proliferation, apoptosis, transformation, migration, invasion, angiogenesis and metastasis. Therefore PDGF-D signaling has been considered to be important in human malignancies, and thus PDGF-D signaling may represent a novel therapeutic target, and as such suggests that the development of agents that will target PDGF-D signaling is likely to have a significant therapeutic impact on human cancers. This mini-review describes the mechanisms of signal transduction associated with PDGF-D signaling to support the role of PDGF-D in the carcinogenesis. Moreover, we summarize data on several PDGF-D inhibitors especially naturally occurring "chemopreventive agent" such an indole compound, which we believe could serve as a novel agent for the prevention of tumor progression and/or treatment of human malignancies by targeted inactivation of PDGF-D signaling.
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Structure-activity studies on therapeutic potential of Thymoquinone analogs in pancreatic cancer.
Pharm. Res.
PUBLISHED: 03-31-2010
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Pancreatic cancer (PC) is one of the deadliest of all tumors. Previously, we were the first to show that Thymoquinone (TQ) derived from black seed (Nigella sativa) oil has anti-tumor activity against PC. However, the concentration of TQ required was considered to be high to show this efficacy. Therefore, novel analogs of TQ with lower IC(50) are highly desirable.
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Concurrent inhibition of NF-kappaB, cyclooxygenase-2, and epidermal growth factor receptor leads to greater anti-tumor activity in pancreatic cancer.
J. Cell. Biochem.
PUBLISHED: 03-10-2010
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Inactivation of survival pathways such as NF-kappaB, cyclooxygenase (COX-2), or epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) signaling individually may not be sufficient for the treatment of advanced pancreatic cancer (PC) as suggested by recent clinical trials. 3,3-Diindolylmethane (B-DIM) is an inhibitor of NF-kappaB and COX-2 and is a well-known chemopreventive agent. We hypothesized that the inhibition of NF-kappaB and COX-2 by B-DIM concurrently with the inhibition of EGFR by erlotinib will potentiate the anti-tumor effects of cytotoxic drug gemcitabine, which has been tested both in vitro and in vivo. Inhibition of viable cells in seven PC cell lines treated with B-DIM, erlotinib, or gemcitabine alone or their combinations was evaluated using 3-(4,5-dimetylthiazol-2-yl)-2,5-diphenyltetrazolium bromide (MTT) assay. Significant inhibition in cell viability was observed in PC cells expressing high levels of COX-2, EGFR, and NF-kappaB proteins. The observed inhibition was associated with an increase in apoptosis as assessed by ELISA. A significant down-regulation in the expression of COX-2, NF-kappaB, and EGFR in BxPC-3, COLO-357, and HPAC cells was observed, suggesting that simultaneous targeting of EGFR, NF-kappaB, and COX-2 is more effective than targeting either signaling pathway separately. Our in vitro results were further supported by in vivo studies showing that B-DIM in combination with erlotinib and gemcitabine was significantly more effective than individual agents. Based on our preclinical in vitro and in vivo results, we conclude that this multi-targeted combination could be developed for the treatment of PC patients whose tumors express high levels of COX-2, EGFR, and NF-kappaB.
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Platelet-derived growth factor-D contributes to aggressiveness of breast cancer cells by up-regulating Notch and NF-?B signaling pathways.
Breast Cancer Res. Treat.
PUBLISHED: 03-04-2010
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Platelet-derived growth factor-D (PDGF-D) has been linked with several human malignancies; however, its role in breast cancer progression is not known. We found that PDGF-D expressing breast cancer cell lines MDA-MB-231 and SUM-149 are more invasive compared to cell lines with little or no expression of PDGF-D such as MDA-MB-468 and MCF-7 cells. Over-expression of PDGF-D in PDGF-D low expressing MDA-MB-468 and MCF-7 cells by cDNA transfection showed increased cell proliferation while silencing the expression of PDGF-D by siRNA in PDGF-D high expressing MDA-MB-231 and SUM-149 cells showed decreased cell proliferation and increased apoptosis. Moreover, PDGF-D over-expression was positively correlated with the expression of Notch-1 and Jagged-1, and the expression of mesenchymal markers (Vimentin and ZEB-2) with concomitant decreased expression of epithelial marker E-cadherin. Since NF-?B activation plays a crucial role in Notch signaling as well as in epithelial-mesenchymal transition and tumor aggressiveness, we determined the DNA binding activity of NF-?B and our findings are consistent showing that PDGF-D over-expression led to increased DNA binding activity of NF-?B while it was found to be decreased by inactivation of PDGF-D. These results were also consistent with the expression and activity of MMP-9 and VEGF, as well as invasive characteristics. Further, forced expression of Notch-1/Jagged-1 by cDNA transfection de-repressed the effects of PDGF-D silencing on NF-?B activity and invasion. From these results, we conclude that PDGF-D plays an important role in breast tumor aggressiveness and this process is mechanistically linked with the activation of Notch and NF-?B signaling.
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FoxM1 is a novel target of a natural agent in pancreatic cancer.
Pharm. Res.
PUBLISHED: 02-25-2010
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Pancreatic cancer remains the fourth most common cause of cancer-related death in the United States. Therefore, novel strategies for the prevention and/or treatment are urgently needed. Genistein has been found to be responsible for lowering the rate of pancreatic cancer. However, the molecular mechanisms by which genistein elicits its effects on pancreatic cancer cells has not been fully elucidated. Therefore, the purpose of the current study was to elucidate the anti-cancer mechanism(s) of genistein.
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Apoptosis-inducing effect of garcinol is mediated by NF-kappaB signaling in breast cancer cells.
J. Cell. Biochem.
PUBLISHED: 01-29-2010
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Garcinol, obtained from Garcinia indica in tropical regions, is used for its numerous biological effects. Its anti-cancer activity has been suggested but the mechanism of action has not been studied in-detail, especially there is no report on its action against breast cancer cells. Here we tested our hypothesis that garcinol may act as an anti-proliferative and apoptosis-inducing agent against breast cancer cell lines. Using multiple techniques such as MTT, Histone-DNA ELISA, Annexin V-PI staining, Western blot for activated caspases and cleaved PARP, homogenous caspase-3/7 fluorometric assay and EMSA, we investigated the mechanism of apoptosis-inducing effect of garcinol in ER-positive MCF-7 and ER-negative MDA-MB-231 cells. We found that garcinol exhibits dose-dependent cancer cell-specific growth inhibition in both the cell lines with a concomitant induction of apoptosis, and has no effect on non-tumorigenic MCF-10A cells. Our results suggested induction of caspase-mediated apoptosis in highly metastatic MDA-MB-231 cells by garcinol. Down-regulation of NF-kappaB signaling pathway was observed to be the mechanism of apoptosis-induction. Garcinol inhibited constitutive NF-kappaB activity, which was consistent with down-regulation of NF-kappaB-regulated genes. This is the first report on anti-proliferative and apoptosis-inducing action of garcinol against human breast cancer cells and the results suggest that this natural compound merits investigation as a potential chemo-preventive/-therapeutic agent, especially against breast cancer.
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Reactivation of p53 by novel MDM2 inhibitors: implications for pancreatic cancer therapy.
Curr Cancer Drug Targets
PUBLISHED: 01-09-2010
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The present study is the first to show in pancreatic cancer (PC) the growth inhibition and apoptosis by novel MDM2 inhibitors (MI-319 & 219) through reactivation of p53 pathway. Our results highlight two new secondary targets of MDM2 inhibitor SIRT1 and Ku70. SIRT1 which has a role in ageing and cancer and is known to regulate p53 signaling through acetylation. Ku70 is a key component of non-homologous end joining machinery in the DNA damage pathway and is known to regulate apoptosis by blocking Bax entry into mitochondria. Growth inhibition and apoptosis by MI-219, MI-319 was accompanied by increase in levels of p53 along with p21(WAF1) and the proapoptotic Puma. SiRNA against p21(WAF1) abrogated the growth inhibition of PC cells confirming p21(WAF1) as a key player downstream of activated p53. Immunoprecipitation-western blot analysis revealed reduced association of MDM2-p53 interaction in drug exposed PC cells. In combination studies, the inhibitors synergistically augmented anti-tumor effects of therapeutic drug gemcitabine both in terms of cell growth inhibition as well as apoptosis. Surface plasmon resonance studies confirmed strong binding between MI-319 and Ku70 (K(D) 170 nM). Western blot revealed suppression of SIRT1 and Ku70 with simultaneous upregulation of acetyl-p53 (Lys379) and Bax. Co-Immunoprecipitation studies confirmed that MI-319 could disrupt Ku70-Bax and SIRT1-Bax interaction. Further, using wt-p53 xenograft of Capan-2, we found that oral administration of MI-319 at 300 mg/kg for 14 days resulted in significant tumor growth inhibition without any observed toxicity to the animals. No tumor inhibition was found in mut-p53 BxPC-3 xenografts. In light of our results, the inhibitors of MDM2 warrant clinical investigation as new agents for PC treatment.
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Down-regulation of Notch-1 and Jagged-1 inhibits prostate cancer cell growth, migration and invasion, and induces apoptosis via inactivation of Akt, mTOR, and NF-kappaB signaling pathways.
J. Cell. Biochem.
PUBLISHED: 01-07-2010
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Notch signaling is involved in a variety of cellular processes, such as cell fate specification, differentiation, proliferation, and survival. Notch-1 over-expression has been reported in prostate cancer metastases. Likewise, Notch ligand Jagged-1 was found to be over-expressed in metastatic prostate cancer compared to localized prostate cancer or benign prostatic tissues, suggesting the biological significance of Notch signaling in prostate cancer progression. However, the mechanistic role of Notch signaling and the consequence of its down-regulation in prostate cancer have not been fully elucidated. Using multiple cellular and molecular approaches such as MTT assay, apoptosis assay, gene transfection, real-time RT-PCR, Western blotting, migration, invasion assay and ELISA, we found that down-regulation of Notch-1 or Jagged-1 was mechanistically associated with inhibition of cell growth, migration, invasion and induction of apoptosis in prostate cancer cells, which was mediated via inactivation of Akt, mTOR, and NF-kappaB signaling. Consistent with these results, we found that the down-regulation of Notch-1 or Jagged-1 led to decreased expression and the activity of NF-kappaB downstream genes such as MMP-9, VEGF, and uPA, contributing to the inhibition of cell migration and invasion. Taken together, we conclude that the down-regulation of Notch-1 or Jagged-1 mediated inhibition of cell growth, migration and invasion, and the induction of apoptosis was in part due to inactivation of Akt, mTOR, and NF-kappaB signaling pathways. Our results further suggest that inactivation of Notch signaling pathways by innovative strategies could be a potential targeted approach for the treatment of metastatic prostate cancer.
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MDM2 inhibitor MI-319 in combination with cisplatin is an effective treatment for pancreatic cancer independent of p53 function.
Eur. J. Cancer
PUBLISHED: 01-05-2010
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Small molecule inhibitors (SMIs) of murine double minute 2 (MDM2) are known to restore the apoptotic and cell cycle regulatory functions of p53 by disrupting the MDM2-p53 interaction. In principle, these SMIs are not effective against tumours with mutation in the tumour suppressor p53 (mut-p53), which is known to be present in approximately 50% of all cancers. In this study we are reporting, for the first time, that MI-319 in combination with cisplatin induced cell growth inhibition and apoptosis in pancreatic cancer (PC) cells irrespective of their p53 mutational status. MI-319-cisplatin combination synergistically suppressed cell growth (MTT Combination Index [CI]<1) and colony formation (clonogenic assay) and induced apoptosis. Western blot analysis and siRNA silencing studies in mutant as well as p53 null cells highlighted a mechanism involving p73 which is also known to be under the regulation of MDM2, and unlike p53, it is rarely mutated in PC. Down-regulating MDM2 using siRNA enhanced p73 reactivation and increased cell death. Further, the combination effectively reduced tumour growth in both wt-p53 and mut-p53 tumour xenograft models (50% Capan-2 animals were tumour free). Consistent with our in vitro results, remnant tumour tissue analysis showed up-regulation of p73 and the cell cycle regulator p21. In conclusion, this study highlights a new role of MDM2 inhibitors in combination with cisplatin, and thus warrants further clinical investigation in human pancreatic tumours containing both wt-p53 and mut-p53.
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Aging and inflammation: etiological culprits of cancer.
Curr Aging Sci
PUBLISHED: 12-10-2009
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The biochemical phenomenon of aging, as universal as it is, still remains poorly understood. A number of diseases are associated with aging either as a cause or consequence of the aging process. The incidence of human cancers increases exponentially with age and therefore cancer stands out as a disease that is intricately connected to the process of aging. Emerging evidence clearly suggests that there is a symbiotic relationship between aging, inflammation and chronic diseases such as cancer; however, it is not clear whether aging leads to the induction of inflammatory processes thereby resulting in the development and maintenance of chronic diseases or whether inflammation is the causative factor for inducing both aging and chronic diseases such as cancer. Moreover, the development of chronic diseases especially cancer could also lead to the induction of inflammatory processes and may cause premature aging, suggesting that longitudinal research strategies must be employed for dissecting the interrelationships between aging, inflammation and cancer. Here, we have described our current understanding on the importance of inflammation, activation of NF-kappaB and various cytokines and chemokines in the processes of aging and in the development of chronic diseases especially cancer. We have also reviewed the prevailing theories of aging and provided succinct evidence in support of novel theories such as those involving cancer stem cells, the molecular understanding of which would likely hold a great promise towards unraveling the complex relationships between aging, inflammation and cancer.
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A novel inhibitor of DNA polymerase beta enhances the ability of temozolomide to impair the growth of colon cancer cells.
Mol. Cancer Res.
PUBLISHED: 12-08-2009
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The recent emerging concept to sensitize cancer cells to DNA-alkylating drugs is by inhibiting various proteins in the base excision repair (BER) pathway. In the present study, we used structure-based molecular docking of DNA polymerase beta (Pol-beta) and identified a potent small molecular weight inhibitor, NSC-666715. We determined the specificity of this small molecular weight inhibitor for Pol-beta by using in vitro activities of APE1, Fen1, DNA ligase I, and Pol-beta-directed single-nucleotide and long-patch BER. The binding specificity of NSC-666715 with Pol-beta was also determined by using fluorescence anisotropy. The effect of NSC-666715 on the cytotoxicity of the DNA-alkylating drug temozolomide (TMZ) to colon cancer cells was determined by in vitro clonogenic and in vivo xenograft assays. The reduction in tumor growth was higher in the combination treatment relative to untreated or monotherapy treatment. NSC-666715 showed a high specificity for blocking Pol-beta activity. It blocked Pol-beta-directed single-nucleotide and long-patch BER without affecting the activity of APE1, Fen1, and DNA ligase I. Fluorescence anisotropy data suggested that NSC-666715 directly and specifically interacts with Pol-beta and interferes with binding to damaged DNA. NSC-666715 drastically induces the sensitivity of TMZ to colon cancer cells both in in vitro and in vivo assays. The results further suggest that the disruption of BER by NSC-666715 negates its contribution to drug resistance and bypasses other resistance factors, such as mismatch repair defects. Our findings provide the "proof-of-concept" for the development of highly specific and thus safer structure-based inhibitors for the prevention of tumor progression and/or treatment of colorectal cancer.
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Cross-talk between miRNA and Notch signaling pathways in tumor development and progression.
Cancer Lett.
PUBLISHED: 11-04-2009
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Notch signaling pathways are known to regulate many cellular processes, including cell proliferation, apoptosis, migration, invasion, and angiogenesis, and is one of the most important signaling pathway during normal development. Recently, emerging evidences suggest that microRNAs (miRNAs) can function as key regulators of various biological and pathologic processes during tumor development and progression. Notch signaling has also been reported to be regulated through cross-talk with many pathways and factors where miRNAs appears to play a major role. This article will provide a brief overview of the published evidences for the cross-talks between Notch and miRNAs. Further, we summarize how targeting miRNAs by natural agents could become a novel and safer approach for the prevention of tumor progression and treatment.
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Curcumin synergizes with resveratrol to inhibit colon cancer.
Nutr Cancer
PUBLISHED: 10-20-2009
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Development and progression of many malignancies, including colorectal cancer, are associated with activation of multiple signaling pathways. Therefore, inhibition of these signaling pathways with noncytotoxic natural products represents a logical preventive and/or therapeutic approach for colon cancer. Curcumin and resveratrol, both of which inhibit the growth of transformed cells and colon carcinogenesis, were selected to examine whether combining them would be an effective preventive and/or therapeutic strategy for colon cancer. Indeed, the combination of curcumin and resveratrol was found to be more effective in inhibiting growth of p53-positive (wt) and p53-negative colon cancer HCT-116 cells in vitro and in vivo in SCID xenografts of colon cancer HCT-116 (wt) cells than either agent alone. Analysis by Calcusyn software showed synergism between curcumin and resveratrol. The inhibition of tumors in response to curcumin and/or resveratrol was associated with the reduction in proliferation and stimulation of apoptosis accompanied by attenuation of NF-kappaB activity. In vitro studies have further demonstrated that the combinatorial treatment caused a greater inhibition of constitutive activation of EGFR and its family members as well as IGF-1R. Our current data suggest that the combination of curcumin and resveratrol could be an effective preventive/therapeutic strategy for colon cancer.
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Forkhead box M1 transcription factor: a novel target for cancer therapy.
Cancer Treat. Rev.
PUBLISHED: 10-14-2009
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FoxM1 signaling has been reported to be associated with carcinogenesis. Therefore, the FoxM1 may represent a novel therapeutic target, and thus the development of agents that will target FoxM1 is likely to have significant therapeutic impact on human cancer. This review describes the mechanisms of signal transduction associated with FoxM1 and provides emerging evidence in support of its role in the carcinogenesis. Further, we summarize data on several FoxM1 inhibitors especially "chemopreventive agents" and these agents could be useful for targeted inactivation of FoxM1, which indeed could become a novel approach for the prevention and/or treatment of human cancer.
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Hybrid anticancer agents: isothiocyanate-progesterone conjugates as chemotherapeutic agents and insights into their cytotoxicities.
Bioorg. Med. Chem. Lett.
PUBLISHED: 09-08-2009
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New hybrid molecules of isothiocyanate and progesterone and their metal complexes were synthesized exhibiting promising anti-proliferative and pro-apoptotic activity against breast and prostate cancer cells. These metal complex compounds exploited an existing cellular transport pathway for delivery of cytotoxic isothiocyanate moiety across cell membrane resulting in the inhibition of cell viability and inducing apoptosis. The highest apoptotic action was shown by the copper complex, which was mediated through the inhibition of Akt signaling similar to the one shown by isothiocyanate compounds. Our results underscore the possible role of metal redox cycling, and thus it is likely will open newer avenues for further optimization for the synthesis of novel active compounds through appropriate isothiocyanate pharmacophores.
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Down-regulation of uPA and uPAR by 3,3-diindolylmethane contributes to the inhibition of cell growth and migration of breast cancer cells.
J. Cell. Biochem.
PUBLISHED: 08-21-2009
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3,3-Diindolylmethane (DIM) is a known anti-tumor agent against breast and other cancers; however, its exact mechanism of action remains unclear. The urokinase plasminogen activator (uPA) and its receptor (uPAR) system are involved in the degradation of basement membrane and extracellular matrix, leading to tumor cell invasion and metastasis. Since uPA-uPAR system is highly activated in aggressive breast cancer, we hypothesized that the biological activity of B-DIM could be mediated via inactivation of uPA-uPAR system. We found that B-DIM treatment as well as silencing of uPA-uPAR led to the inhibition of cell growth and motility of MDA-MB-231 cells, which was in part due to inhibition of VEGF and MMP-9. Moreover, silencing of uPA-uPAR led to decreased sensitivity of these cells to B-DIM indicating an important role of uPA-uPAR in B-DIM-mediated inhibition of cell growth and migration. We also found similar effects of B-DIM on MCF-7, cells expressing low levels of uPA-uPAR, which was due to direct down-regulation of MMP-9 and VEGF, independent of uPA-uPAR system. Interestingly, over-expression of uPA-uPAR in MCF-7 cells attenuated the inhibitory effects of B-DIM. Our results, therefore, suggest that B-DIM down-regulates uPA-uPAR in aggressive breast cancers but in the absence of uPA-uPAR, B-DIM can directly inhibit VEGF and MMP-9 leading to the inhibition of cell growth and migration of breast cancer cells.
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Fluorocurcumins as cyclooxygenase-2 inhibitor: molecular docking, pharmacokinetics and tissue distribution in mice.
Pharm. Res.
PUBLISHED: 07-16-2009
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The purpose of the current study was to assess the effect of newly synthesized Curcumin analogs on COX-2 protein by molecular docking studies and by assessments of the effect of one such analog (CDF) on nuclear factor NF-kappaB and PGE(2). In addition, we have determined the pharmacokinetics and tissue distribution of CDF in mice compared to Curcumin.
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FoxM1 down-regulation leads to inhibition of proliferation, migration and invasion of breast cancer cells through the modulation of extra-cellular matrix degrading factors.
Breast Cancer Res. Treat.
PUBLISHED: 07-02-2009
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Forkhead box M1 (FoxM1) transcription factor is known to play important role in human cancers which, in part, is mediated by its ability to modulate cell cycle regulatory proteins as well as genes involved in cell proliferation and differentiation. In breast cancer, FoxM1 down-regulation is increasingly being recognized as an important mechanism for the targeted activity of anti-cancer agents. However, the mechanistic insight in support of the role of FoxM1 in aggressive breast cancer is poorly understood. We have tested the biological consequence of FoxM1 down-regulation and up-regulation in breast cancer cell lines and found that the down-regulation of FoxM1 in MDA-MB-231 and SUM149 cells by siRNA approach inhibited cell growth, clonogenicity, migration, and invasion. We also found decreased expression of CDK2 and E2F1 with concomitant increase in p21 and p27 proteins, suggesting an important role of FoxM1 in cell cycle progression. In contrast, over-expression of FoxM1 by cDNA transfection, in breast cancer cells (SUM102 and SKBR3) expressing low levels of FoxM1, resulted in increased cell proliferation, migration, and invasion. Moreover, down-regulation of FoxM1 inhibited the expression of many factors that are involved in the degradation of extra cellular matrix and angiogenesis such as uPA, uPAR, MMP-2, MMP-9, and vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) as well as inhibited the activity of MMP-9 and VEGF. Interestingly, over-expression of uPA by cDNA transfection abrogated the cellular effects that were observed by the down-regulation of FoxM1. Taken together, these results suggest the potential application of FoxM1 down-regulation as a novel approach for the treatment of aggressive breast cancer.
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Antitumor activity of gemcitabine and oxaliplatin is augmented by thymoquinone in pancreatic cancer.
Cancer Res.
PUBLISHED: 06-23-2009
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Previous studies have shown biological activity of thymoquinone, an active compound extracted from Nigella sativa, in pancreatic cancer cells; however, preclinical animal studies are lacking. Here, we report, for the first time, the chemosensitizing effect of thymoquinone to conventional chemotherapeutic agents both in vitro and in vivo using an orthotopic model of pancreatic cancer. In vitro studies revealed that preexposure of cells with thymoquinone (25 mumol/L) for 48 h followed by gemcitabine or oxaliplatin resulted in 60% to 80% growth inhibition compared with 15% to 25% when gemcitabine or oxaliplatin was used alone. Moreover, we found that thymoquinone could potentiate the killing of pancreatic cancer cells induced by chemotherapeutic agents by down-regulation of nuclear factor-kappaB (NF-kappaB), Bcl-2 family, and NF-kappaB-dependent antiapoptotic genes (X-linked inhibitors of apoptosis, survivin, and cyclooxygenase-2). As shown previously by our laboratory, NF-kappaB gets activated on exposure of pancreatic cancer cells to conventional chemotherapeutic agents; interestingly, thymoquinone was able to down-regulate NF-kappaB in vitro, resulting in chemosensitization. In addition to in vitro results, here we show for the first time, that thymoquinone in combination with gemcitabine and/or oxaliplatin is much more effective as an antitumor agent compared with either agent alone. Most importantly, our data also showed that a specific target, such as NF-kappaB, was inactivated in animal tumors pretreated with thymoquinone followed by gemcitabine and/or oxaliplatin. These results provide strong in vivo molecular evidence in support of our hypothesis that thymoquinone could abrogate gemcitabine- or oxaliplatin-induced activation of NF-kappaB, resulting in the chemosensitization of pancreatic tumors to conventional therapeutics.
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miR-200 regulates PDGF-D-mediated epithelial-mesenchymal transition, adhesion, and invasion of prostate cancer cells.
Stem Cells
PUBLISHED: 06-23-2009
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MicroRNAs have been implicated in tumor progression. Recent studies have shown that the miR-200 family regulates epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) by targeting zinc-finger E-box binding homeobox 1 (ZEB1) and ZEB2. Emerging evidence from our laboratory and others suggests that the processes of EMT can be triggered by various growth factors, such as transforming growth factor beta and platelet-derived growth factor-D (PDGF-D). Moreover, we recently reported that overexpression of PDGF-D in prostate cancer cells (PC3 PDGF-D cells) leads to the acquisition of the EMT phenotype, and this model offers an opportunity for investigating the molecular interplay between PDGF-D signaling and EMT. Here, we report, for the first time, significant downregulation of the miR-200 family in PC3 PDGF-D cells as well as in PC3 cells exposed to purified active PDGF-D protein, resulting in the upregulation of ZEB1, ZEB2, and Snail2 expression. Interestingly, re-expression of miR-200b in PC3 PDGF-D cells led to reversal of the EMT phenotype, which was associated with the downregulation of ZEB1, ZEB2, and Snail2 expression, and these results were consistent with greater expression levels of epithelial markers. Moreover, transfection of PC3 PDGF-D cells with miR-200b inhibited cell migration and invasion, with concomitant repression of cell adhesion to the culture surface and cell detachment. From these results, we conclude that PDGF-D-induced acquisition of the EMT phenotype in PC3 cells is, in part, a result of repression of miR-200 and that any novel strategy by which miR-200 could be upregulated would become a promising approach for the treatment of invasive prostate cancer.
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3,3-Diindolylmethane enhances chemosensitivity of multiple chemotherapeutic agents in pancreatic cancer.
Cancer Res.
PUBLISHED: 06-16-2009
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Clinical management of pancreatic cancer is a major problem, which is in part due to both de novo and acquired resistance to conventional therapeutics. Here, we present in vitro and in vivo preclinical evidence in support of chemosensitization of pancreatic cancer cells by 3,3-diindolylmethane (DIM), a natural compound that can be easily obtained by consuming cruciferous vegetables. DIM pretreatment of pancreatic cancer cells led to a significantly increased apoptosis (P < 0.01) with suboptimal concentrations of chemotherapeutic agents (cisplatin, gemcitabine, and oxaliplatin) compared with monotherapy. It is known that resistance to chemotherapy in pancreatic cancer is associated with constitutively activated nuclear factor-kappaB (NF-kappaB), which becomes further activated by chemotherapeutic drugs. Our data provide mechanistic evidence for the first time showing that DIM potentiates the killing of pancreatic cancer cells by down-regulation of constitutive as well as drug-induced activation of NF-kappaB and its downstream genes (Bcl-xL, XIAP, cIAP, and survivin). Most importantly, using an orthotopic animal model, we found reduction in tumor size (P < 0.001) when DIM was given in combination with oxaliplatin compared with monotherapy. This was accompanied by loss of phospho-p65 and down-regulation of NF-kappaB activity and its downstream genes (Bcl-xL, survivin, and XIAP), which correlated with reduced cell proliferation (as assessed by Ki-67 immunostaining of tumor specimens) and evidence of apoptosis [as assessed by poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase cleavage and terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase-mediated dUTP nick end labeling staining]. These results provide strong in vivo evidence in support of our hypothesis that DIM could abrogate chemotherapeutic drug (cisplatin, gemcitabine, and/or oxaliplatin)-induced activation of NF-kappaB, resulting in the chemosensitization of pancreatic tumors to conventional therapeutics.
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Emerging role of Notch in stem cells and cancer.
Cancer Lett.
PUBLISHED: 05-15-2009
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The Notch signaling pathway is known to be responsible for maintaining a balance between cell proliferation and death and, as such, plays important roles in the formation of many types of human tumors. Recently, Notch signaling pathway has been shown to control stem cell self-renewal and multi-potency. As many cancers are thought to be developed from a number of cancer stem-like cells, which are also known to be linked with the acquisition of epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT); and thus suggesting an expanding role of Notch signaling in human tumor progression.
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3,3-Diindolylmethane enhances taxotere-induced apoptosis in hormone-refractory prostate cancer cells through survivin down-regulation.
Cancer Res.
PUBLISHED: 05-12-2009
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Survivin, a member of inhibitor of apoptosis family, is associated with both prostate cancer progression and drug resistance. Therefore, we hypothesized that survivin may play a potentially important role in hormone-refractory prostate cancer (HRPC) and bone metastatic disease; thus, targeting of survivin signaling could enhance therapeutic efficacy in prostate cancer. 3,3-Diindolylmethane (DIM) has been known to have cancer chemoprevention activity. However, no information is available regarding the down-regulation of survivin by DIM, which could result in the chemosensitization of HRPC cells to Taxotere-induced killing. We investigated the effect of DIM alone or in combination with Taxotere using LNCaP and C4-2B prostate cancer cells. We observed that DIM enhanced Taxotere-induced apoptotic death in both cell lines. These enhancing effects were related to a decrease in survivin expression as well as androgen receptor and nuclear factor-kappaB (NF-kappaB) DNA-binding activity. We also found that knockdown of survivin expression by small interfering RNA transfection increased DIM-induced cell growth inhibition and apoptosis, whereas overexpression of survivin by cDNA transfection abrogated DIM-induced cell growth inhibition and apoptosis in both prostate cancer cells. Importantly, luciferase assays showed a significant reduction of survivin-Luc and NF-kappaB-Luc activity in prostate cancer cells exposed to DIM and Taxotere. Furthermore, combination treatment significantly inhibited C4-2B bone tumor growth, and the results were correlated with the down-regulation of survivin. From these results, we conclude that inactivation of survivin by DIM enhanced the therapeutic efficacy of Taxotere in prostate cancer in general, which could be useful for the treatment of HRPC and metastatic prostate cancer.
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Curcumin synergizes the growth inhibitory properties of Indian toad (Bufo melanostictus Schneider) skin-derived factor (BM-ANF1) in HCT-116 colon cancer cells.
Anticancer Res.
PUBLISHED: 04-01-2009
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Curcumin, an active ingredient of turmeric with no discernable toxicity, inhibits the growth of transformed cells and the development and progression of colon carcinogenesis in experimental animals. Recent data from one of our laboratories demonstrated that a crude skin extract or a purified crystalline compound (Bufo melanostictus-antineoplastic factor 1, BM-ANF1) from Indian common toad (Bufo melanostictus, Schneider) skin inhibits the growth of human leukemic cells. The present investigation was undertaken to determine whether combining BM-ANF1 with curcumin would be a better therapeutic strategy for colon cancer.
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Inactivation of uPA and its receptor uPAR by 3,3-diindolylmethane (DIM) leads to the inhibition of prostate cancer cell growth and migration.
J. Cell. Biochem.
PUBLISHED: 03-31-2009
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3,3-Diindolylmethane (DIM) has been studied for its putative anti-cancer properties, especially against prostate cancer; however, its exact mechanism of action remains unclear. We recently provided preliminary data suggesting down-regulation of uPA during B-DIM (a clinically active DIM)-induced inhibition of invasion and angiogenesis in prostate cancer cells. Since the expression and activation of uPA plays important role in tumorigenicity, and high endogenous levels of uPA and uPAR are found in advanced metastatic cancers, we investigated their role in B-DIM-mediated inhibition of prostate cancer cell growth and motility. Using PC3 cells, we found that B-DIM treatment as well as the silencing of uPA and uPAR by siRNAs led to the inhibition of cell growth and motility. Conversely, over-expression of uPA/uPAR in LNCaP and C4-2B cells resulted in increased cell growth and motility, which was effectively inhibited by B-DIM. Moreover, we found that uPA as well as uPAR induced the production of VEGF and MMP-9, and that the down-regulation of uPA/uPAR by siRNAs or B-DIM treatment resulted in the inhibition of VEGF and MMP-9 secretion which could be responsible for the observed inhibition of cell migration. Interestingly, silencing of uPA/uPAR led to decreased sensitivity to B-DIM indicating important role of uPA/uPAR in B-DIM-mediated regulation of prostate cancer cell growth and migration. Our data suggest that chemopreventive and/or therapeutic activity of B-DIM is in part due to down-regulation of uPA-uPAR leading to reduced production of VEGF/MMP-9 which ultimately leads to the inhibition of cell growth and migration of aggressive prostate cancer cells.
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TW-37, a small-molecule inhibitor of Bcl-2, inhibits cell growth and induces apoptosis in pancreatic cancer: involvement of Notch-1 signaling pathway.
Cancer Res.
PUBLISHED: 03-24-2009
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Overexpression of Bcl-2 family proteins has been found in a variety of aggressive human carcinomas, including pancreatic cancer, suggesting that specific agents targeting Bcl-2 family proteins would be valuable for pancreatic cancer therapy. We have previously reported that TW-37, a small-molecule inhibitor of Bcl-2 family proteins, inhibited cell growth and induced apoptosis in pancreatic cancer. However, the precise role and the molecular mechanism of action of TW-37 have not been fully elucidated. In our current study, we found that TW-37 induces cell growth inhibition and S-phase cell cycle arrest, with regulation of several important cell cycle-related genes like p27, p57, E2F-1, cdc25A, CDK4, cyclin A, cyclin D1, and cyclin E. The cell growth inhibition was accompanied by increased apoptosis with concomitant attenuation of Notch-1, Jagged-1, and its downstream genes such as Hes-1 in vitro and in vivo. We also found that down-regulation of Notch-1 by small interfering RNA or gamma-secretase inhibitors before TW-37 treatment resulted in enhanced cell growth inhibition and apoptosis. Our data suggest that the observed antitumor activity of TW-37 is mediated through a novel pathway involving inactivation of Notch-1 and Jagged-1.
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Acquisition of epithelial-mesenchymal transition phenotype of gemcitabine-resistant pancreatic cancer cells is linked with activation of the notch signaling pathway.
Cancer Res.
PUBLISHED: 03-10-2009
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Despite rapid advances in many fronts, pancreatic cancer (PC) remains one of the most difficult human malignancies to treat due, in part, to de novo and acquired chemoresistance and radioresistance. Gemcitabine alone or in combination with other conventional therapeutics is the standard of care for the treatment of advanced PC without any significant improvement in the overall survival of patients diagnosed with this deadly disease. Previous studies have shown that PC cells that are gemcitabine-resistant (GR) acquired epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) phenotype, which is reminiscent of "cancer stem-like cells"; however, the molecular mechanism that led to EMT phenotype has not been fully investigated. The present study shows that Notch-2 and its ligand, Jagged-1, are highly up-regulated in GR cells, which is consistent with the role of the Notch signaling pathway in the acquisition of EMT and cancer stem-like cell phenotype. We also found that the down-regulation of Notch signaling was associated with decreased invasive behavior of GR cells. Moreover, down-regulation of Notch signaling by siRNA approach led to partial reversal of the EMT phenotype, resulting in the mesenchymal-epithelial transition, which was associated with decreased expression of vimentin, ZEB1, Slug, Snail, and nuclear factor-kappaB. These results provide molecular evidence showing that the activation of Notch signaling is mechanistically linked with chemoresistance phenotype (EMT phenotype) of PC cells, suggesting that the inactivation of Notch signaling by novel strategies could be a potential targeted therapeutic approach for overcoming chemoresistance toward the prevention of tumor progression and/or treatment of metastatic PC.
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Radiation-induced HIF-1alpha cell survival pathway is inhibited by soy isoflavones in prostate cancer cells.
Int. J. Cancer
PUBLISHED: 03-04-2009
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We previously showed that treatment of prostate cancer cells with soy isoflavones and radiation resulted in greater cell killing in vitro, and caused downregulation of NF-kappaB and APE1/Ref-1. APE1/Ref-1 functions as a redox activator of transcription factors, including NF-kappaB and HIF-1alpha. These molecules are upregulated by radiation and implicated in radioresistance of cancer cells. We extended our studies to investigate the role of HIF-1alpha survival pathway and its upstream Src and STAT3 molecules in isoflavones and radiation interaction. Radiation induced phosphorylation of Src and STAT3 leading to induction of HIF-1alpha. Genistein, daidzein or a mixture of soy isoflavones did not activate this pathway. These data were observed both in PC-3 (AR-) and C4-2B (AR+) androgen-independent cell lines. Pretreatment with isoflavones inhibited Src/STAT3/HIF-1alpha activation by radiation and nuclear translocation of HIF-1alpha. These findings correlated with decreased expression of APE1/Ref-1 and DNA binding activity of HIF-1alpha and NF-kappaB. In APE1/Ref-1 cDNA transfected cells, radiation caused a greater increase in HIF-1alpha and NF-kappaB activities but this effect was inhibited by pretreatment with soy prior to radiation. Transfection experiments indicate that APE1/Ref-1 inhibition by isoflavones impairs the radiation-induced transcription activity of NF-kappaB and HIF-1alpha. This mechanism could result in the inhibition of genes essential for tumor growth and angiogenesis, as demonstrated by inhibition of VEGF production and HUVECs tube formation. Our novel findings suggest that the increased responsiveness to radiation mediated by soy isoflavones could be due to pleiotropic effects of isoflavones blocking cell survival pathways induced by radiation including Src/STAT3/HIF-1alpha, APE1/Ref-1 and NF-kappaB.
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New difluoro Knoevenagel condensates of curcumin, their Schiff bases and copper complexes as proteasome inhibitors and apoptosis inducers in cancer cells.
Pharm. Res.
PUBLISHED: 02-23-2009
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Emerging evidence clearly suggests the potential chemopreventive and anti-tumor activity of a well known "natural agent" curcumin. However, studies have shown that curcumin is not readily bioavailable, and thus the tissue bioavailability of curcumin is also poor except for gastrointestinal track. Because of the potential biological activity of curcumin, many studies have attempted for making a better analog of curcumin that is equally effective or better with increased bioavailability, which was the purpose of our current study.
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Hypoxia-induced aggressiveness of pancreatic cancer cells is due to increased expression of VEGF, IL-6 and miR-21, which can be attenuated by CDF treatment.
PLoS ONE
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Hypoxia is known to play critical roles in cell survival, angiogenesis, tumor invasion, and metastasis. Hypoxia mediated over-expression of hypoxia-inducible factor (HIF) has been shown to be associated with therapeutic resistance, and contributes to poor prognosis of cancer patients. Emerging evidence suggest that hypoxia and HIF pathways contributes to the acquisition of epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT), maintenance of cancer stem cell (CSC) functions, and also maintains the vicious cycle of inflammation-all which lead to therapeutic resistance. However, the precise molecular mechanism(s) by which hypoxia/HIF drives these events are not fully understood. Here, we show, for the first time, that hypoxia leads to increased expression of VEGF, IL-6, and CSC signature genes Nanog, Oct4 and EZH2 consistent with increased cell migration/invasion and angiogenesis, and the formation of pancreatospheres, concomitant with increased expression of miR-21 and miR-210 in human pancreatic cancer (PC) cells. The treatment of PC cells with CDF, a novel synthetic compound inhibited the production of VEGF and IL-6, and down-regulated the expression of Nanog, Oct4, EZH2 mRNAs, as well as miR-21 and miR-210 under hypoxia. CDF also led to decreased cell migration/invasion, angiogenesis, and formation of pancreatospheres under hypoxia. Moreover, CDF decreased gene expression of miR-21, miR-210, IL-6, HIF-1?, VEGF, and CSC signatures in vivo in a mouse orthotopic model of human PC. Collectively, these results suggest that the anti-tumor activity of CDF is in part mediated through deregulation of tumor hypoxic pathways, and thus CDF could become a novel, and effective anti-tumor agent for PC therapy.
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Pan-Bcl-2 inhibitor AT-101 enhances tumor cell killing by EGFR targeted T cells.
PLoS ONE
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Pancreatic cancer is a deadly disease and has the worst prognosis among almost all cancers and is in dire need of new and improved therapeutic strategies. Conditioning of tumor cells with chemotherapeutic drug has been shown to enhance the anti-tumor effects of cancer vaccines and adoptive cell therapy. In this study, we investigated the immunomodulatory effects of pan-Bcl-2 inhibitor AT-101 on pancreatic cancer (PC) cell cytotoxicity by activated T cells (ATC). The effects of AT-101 on cytotoxicity, early apoptosis, and Granzyme B (GrzB) and IFN-? signaling pathways were evaluated during EGFR bispecific antibody armed ATC (aATC)-mediated killing of L3.6pl and MiaPaCa-2 PC cells pre-sensitized with AT-101. We found that pretreatment of tumor cells with AT-101 enhanced susceptibility of L3.6pl and MiaPaCa-2 tumor cells to ATC and aATC-mediated cytotoxicity, which was in part mediated via enhanced release of cytolytic granule GrzB from ATC and aATC. AT-101-sensitized L3.6pl cells showed up-regulation of IFN-?-mediated induction in the phosphorylation of Ser(727)-Stat1 (pS(727)-Stat1), and IFN-? induced dephosphorylation of phospho-Tyr(705)-Stat3 (pY(705)-Stat3). Priming (conditioning) of PC cells with AT-101 can significantly enhance the anti-tumor activity of EGFRBi armed ATC through increased IFN-? induced activation of pS(727)-Stat1 and inhibition of pY(705)-Stat3 phosphorylation, and resulting in increased ratio of pro-apoptotic to anti-apoptotic proteins. Our results verify enhanced cytotoxicity after a novel chemotherapy conditioning strategy against PC that warrants further in vivo and clinical investigations.
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Targeting CSC-related miRNAs for cancer therapy by natural agents.
Curr Drug Targets
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The theory of cancer stem cells (CSCs) has provided evidence on fundamental clinical implications because of the involvement of CSCs in cell migration, invasion, metastasis, and treatment resistance, which leads to the poor clinical outcome of cancer patients. Therefore, targeting CSCs will provide a novel therapeutic strategy for the treatment and/or prevention of tumors. However, the regulation of CSCs and its signaling pathways during tumorigenesis are not well understood. MicroRNAs (miRNAs) have been proved to act as key regulators of the post-transcriptional regulation of genes, which involve in a wide array of biological processes including tumorigenesis. The altered expressions of miRNAs are associated with poor clinical outcome of patients diagnosed with a variety of tumors. Therefore, emerging evidence strongly suggest that miRMAs play critical roles in tumor development and progression. Emerging evidence also suggest that miRNAs participate in the regulation of tumor cell growth, migration, invasion, angiogenesis, drug resistance, and metastasis. Moreover, miRNAs such as let-7, miR-21, miR-22, miR-34, miR-101, miR-146a, and miR-200 have been found to be associated with CSC phenotype and function mediated through targeting oncogenic signaling pathways. In this article, we will discuss the role of miRNAs in the regulation of CSC phenotype and function during tumor development and progression. We will also discuss the potential role of naturally occurring agents (nutraceuticals) as potent anti-tumor agents that are believed to function by targeting CSC-related miRNAs.
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Genistein inhibits cell growth and induces apoptosis through up-regulation of miR-34a in pancreatic cancer cells.
Curr Drug Targets
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Pancreatic cancer (PC) is the fourth most common cause of cancer-related deaths in the United States, suggesting that designing novel therapeutic strategy is required to improve the survival outcome of patients diagnosed with PC. Recently, microRNAs (miRNA) have been found to be involved in the regulation of multiple aspects of tumor development and progression including PC. In this study, we investigate whether miR-34a plays a critical role in the control of cell growth and apoptosis in PC cells. We found that Re-expression (forced expression) of miR-34a inhibits cell growth and induces apoptosis, with concomitant down-regulation of Notch-1 signaling pathway, one of the target of miR-34a. Moreover, treatment of PC cells with a natural compound genistein led to the up-regulation of miR-34a, resulting in the down-regulation of Notch-1, which was correlated with inhibition of cell growth, and induction of apoptosis. Our findings suggest that genistein could function as a non-toxic activator of a miRNA that can suppress the proliferation of PC cells.
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Activation of AMP-activated protein kinase by 3,3-Diindolylmethane (DIM) is associated with human prostate cancer cell death in vitro and in vivo.
PLoS ONE
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There is a large body of scientific evidence suggesting that 3,3-Diindolylmethane (DIM), a compound derived from the digestion of indole-3-carbinol, which is abundant in cruciferous vegetables, harbors anti-tumor activity in vitro and in vivo. Accumulating evidence suggests that AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) plays an essential role in cellular energy homeostasis and tumor development and that targeting AMPK may be a promising therapeutic option for cancer treatment in the clinic. We previously reported that a formulated DIM (BR-DIM; hereafter referred as B-DIM) with higher bioavailability was able to induce apoptosis and inhibit cell growth, angiogenesis, and invasion of prostate cancer cells. However, the precise molecular mechanism(s) for the anti-cancer effects of B-DIM have not been fully elucidated. In the present study, we investigated whether AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) is a molecular target of B-DIM in human prostate cancer cells. Our results showed, for the first time, that B-DIM could activate the AMPK signaling pathway, associated with suppression of the mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR), down-regulation of androgen receptor (AR) expression, and induction of apoptosis in both androgen-sensitive LNCaP and androgen-insensitive C4-2B prostate cancer cells. B-DIM also activates AMPK and down-regulates AR in androgen-independent C4-2B prostate tumor xenografts in SCID mice. These results suggest that B-DIM could be used as a potential anti-cancer agent in the clinic for prevention and/or treatment of prostate cancer regardless of androgen responsiveness, although functional AR may be required.
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Histone deacetylase inhibitors induce epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition in prostate cancer cells.
PLoS ONE
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Clinical experience of histone deacetylase inhibitors (HDACIs) in patients with solid tumors has been disappointing; however, the molecular mechanism of treatment failure is not known. Therefore, we sought to investigate the molecular mechanism of treatment failure of HDACIs in the present study. We found that HDACIs Trichostatin A (TSA) and Suberoylanilide hydroxamic acid (SAHA) could induce epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT) phenotype in prostate cancer (PCa) cells, which was associated with changes in cellular morphology consistent with increased expression of transcription factors ZEB1, ZEB2 and Slug, and mesenchymal markers such as vimentin, N-cadherin and Fibronectin. CHIP assay showed acetylation of histone 3 on proximal promoters of selected genes, which was in part responsible for increased expression of EMT markers. Moreover, TSA treatment led to further increase in the expression of Sox2 and Nanog in PCa cells with EMT phenotype, which was associated with cancer stem-like cell (CSLC) characteristics consistent with increased cell motility. Our results suggest that HDACIs alone would lead to tumor aggressiveness, and thus strategies for reverting EMT-phenotype to mesenchymal-to-epithelial transition (MET) phenotype or the reversal of CSLC characteristics prior to the use of HDACIs would be beneficial to realize the value of HDACIs for the treatment of solid tumors especially PCa.
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Anticancer action of garcinol in vitro and in vivo is in part mediated through inhibition of STAT-3 signaling.
Carcinogenesis
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Garcinol, obtained from Garcinia indica, has exhibited some promising anticancer activity. In particular, our earlier work has demonstrated its ability to inhibit cell proliferation and induction of apoptosis in multiple cancer cell lines representative of breast, prostate, as well as pancreatic cancers. However, its exact mechanism of action remains largely unclear. Here we show that garcinol also targets signal transducer and activator of transcription-3 (STAT-3) signaling pathway. STAT-3 is frequently found to be activated in many cancer types and this is the first report on such action of garcinol leading to its anticancer effects. Garcinol inhibited total, as well as phosphorylated, STAT-3 in breast, prostate and pancreatic cancer cell lines and was also found to inhibit cell invasion of all the cancer cell lines tested. STAT-3 phosphorylation was inhibited by garcinol in a dose-dependent manner. We also observed an inhibitory effect of garcinol on IL-6-induced STAT-3 phosphorylation and production of urokinase-type plasminogen activator, vascular endothelial growth factor and matrix metalloproteinase-9, which might explain the reduced invasion and aggressiveness of cells treated with garcinol. The results were further verified in vivo using MDA-MB-231 breast cancer mouse xenograft model where administration of garcinol significantly inhibited tumor growth, and western blot analysis of remnant tumor lysates showed reduced STAT-3 expression and activation. These results suggest that garcinol may have translational potential as chemopreventive or therapeutic agent against multiple cancers and inhibition of STAT-3 signaling pathway is one of the mechanisms by which garcinol exerts its anticancer effects.
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