Development of chemoresistance, poor prognosis, and metastasis often renders the current treatments for colorectal cancer (CRC) ineffective. Whether ursolic acid (UA), a component of numerous medicinal plants, either alone or in combination with capecitabine, can inhibit the growth and metastasis of human CRC was investigated.
The effect of UA on proliferation of colorectal cancer cell lines was examined by mitochondrial dye-uptake assay, apoptosis by esterase staining, NF-κB activation by DNA binding assay and protein expression by western blot. The effect of UA on the growth and chemosensitization was also examined in orthotopically-implanted CRC in nude mice.
We found that UA inhibited the proliferation of different colon cancer cell lines. This is correlated with inhibition of constitutive NF-κB activation and downregulation of cell survival (Bcl-xL, Bcl-2, cFLIP, survivin), proliferative (Cyclin D1), and metastatic (MMP-9, VEGF, ICAM-1) proteins. When examined in an orthotopic nude-mice model, UA significantly inhibited tumor volume, ascites formation and distant organ metastasis, and this effect was enhanced with capecitabine. Immunohistochemistry of tumor tissue indicated that UA downregulated biomarkers of proliferation (Ki-67) and microvessel density (CD31). This effect was accompanied by suppression of NF-κB, STAT3, and β-catenin. In addition, UA suppressed EGFR, and induced p53, and p21 expression. We also observed bioavailability of UA in the serum and tissue of animals.
Overall our results demonstrate that UA can inhibit the growth and metastasis of CRC and further enhance the therapeutic effects of capecitabine through suppression of multiple biomarkers linked to inflammation, proliferation, invasion, angiogenesis, and metastasis.
Bone loss/resorption or osteoporosis is a disease that is accelerated with aging and age-associated chronic diseases such as cancer. Bone loss has been associated with human multiple myeloma, breast cancer, and prostate cancer and is usually treated with a bisphosphonate. Because of the numerous side effects of the currently available drugs, the search continues for safe and effective therapies for bone loss. Recently, receptor activator of NF-κB ligand (RANKL), a member of the TNF superfamily, has emerged as a major mediator of bone loss via activation of osteoclastogenesis. We have identified cardamonin, a chalcone first isolated from grass cardamom (Alpinia katsumadai Hayata), that can affect osteoclastogenesis through modulation of RANKL. We found that treatment of monocytes with cardamonin suppressed RANKL-induced NF-κB activation and this suppression correlated with inhibition of IκBα kinase and of phosphorylation and degradation of IκBα, an inhibitor of NF-κB. Cardamonin suppressed the differentiation of monocytes to osteoclasts in a dose-dependent and time-dependent manner. We also found that an NF-κB–specific inhibitory peptide blocked RANKL-induced osteoclastogenesis, indicating a direct link with NF-κB. Finally, osteoclastogenesis induced by human breast cancer cells or human multiple myeloma cells was completely suppressed by cardamonin. Collectively, our results indicate that cardamonin suppresses osteoclastogenesis induced by RANKL and tumor cells by suppressing activation of the NF-κB pathway.
Osteoclastogenesis; RANKL; NF-κB; Cancer; Cardamonin
Diabetic cardiomyopathy, a disorder of the heart muscle in diabetic patients, is one of the major causes of heart failure. Since diabetic cardiomyopathy is now known to have a high prevalence in the asymptomatic diabetic patient, prevention at the earliest stage of development by existing molecules would be appropriate in order to prevent the progression of heart failure. In this study, we investigated the protective role of multiple antioxidants (MA), on cardiac dysfunction and cardiac cell apoptosis in streptozotocin (STZ)-induced diabetic rat. Diabetic cardiomyopathy in STZ-treated animals was characterized by declined systolic, diastolic myocardial performance, oxidative stress and apoptosis in cardiac cells. Diabetic rats on supplementation with MA showed decreased oxidative stress evaluated by the content of reduced levels of lipid per-oxidation and decreased activity of catalase with down-regulation of heme-oxygenase-1 mRNA. Supplementation with MA also resulted in a normalized lipid profile and decreased levels of pro-inflammatory transcription factor NF-kappaB as well as cytokines such as TNF-α, IFN-γ, TGF-β, and IL-10. MA was found to decrease the expression of ROS-generating enzymes like xanthine oxidase, monoamine oxidase-A along with 5-Lipoxygenase mRNA and/or protein expression. Further, left ventricular function, measured by a microtip pressure transducer, was re-established as evidenced by increase in ±dp/dtmax, heart rate, decreased blood pressure, systolic and diastolic pressure as well as decrease in the TUNEL positive cardiac cells with increased Bcl-2/Bax ratio. In addition, MA supplementation decreased cell death and activation of NF-kappaB in cardiac H9c2 cells. Based on our results, we conclude that MA supplementation significantly attenuated cardiac dysfunction in diabetic rats; hence MA supplementation may have important clinical implications in terms of prevention and management of diabetic cardiomyopathy.
Bone loss/resorption or osteoporosis is a disease that is accelerated with aging and age-associated chronic diseases such as cancer. Bone loss has been linked with human multiple myeloma, breast cancer, and prostate cancer and is usually treated with bisphosphonates, and recently approved denosumab, an antibody against receptor activator of NF-κB ligand (RANKL). Because of the numerous side effects of the currently available drugs, the search continues for safe and effective therapies for bone loss. RANKL, a member of the TNF superfamily, has emerged as a major mediator of bone loss via activation of osteoclastogenesis. We have identified cardamonin, a chalcone isolated from Alpinia katsumadai Hayata that can affect osteoclastogenesis through modulation of RANKL. We found that treatment of monocytes with cardamonin suppressed RANKL-induced NF-κB activation and this suppression correlated with inhibition of IκBα kinase and of phosphorylation and degradation of IκBα, an inhibitor of NF-κB. Furthermore, cardamonin also downregulated RANKL-induced phosphorylation of MAPK including ERK and p38 MAPK. Cardamonin suppressed the RANKL-induced differentiation of monocytes to osteoclasts in a dose-dependent and time-dependent manner. We also found that an inhibitor of NF-κB essential modulator (NEMO) blocked RANKL-induced osteoclastogenesis, indicating a direct link with NF-κB. Finally, osteoclastogenesis induced by human breast cancer cells or human multiple myeloma cells were completely suppressed by cardamonin. Collectively, our results indicate that cardamonin suppresses osteoclastogenesis induced by RANKL and tumor cells by suppressing activation of the NF-κB and MAPK pathway.
Numerous cancer therapeutics were originally identified from natural products used in traditional medicine. One such agent is acetyl-11-keto-beta-boswellic acid (AKBA), derived from the gum resin of the Boswellia serrata known as Salai guggal or Indian frankincense. Traditionally it has been used in Ayurvedic medicine to treat proinflammatory conditions. In the present report, we hypothesized that AKBA can affect the growth and metastasis of colorectal cancer (CRC) in orthotopically-implanted tumors in nude mice. We found that the oral administration of AKBA (50-200 mg/kg) dose-dependently inhibited the growth of CRC tumors in mice, resulting in decrease in tumor volumes than those seen in vehicle-treated mice without significant decreases in body weight. In addition, we observed that AKBA was highly effective in suppressing ascites and distant metastasis to the liver, lungs, and spleen in orthotopically-implanted tumors in nude mice. When examined for the mechanism, we found that markers of tumor proliferation index Ki-67 and the microvessel density CD31; were significantly downregulated by AKBA treatment. We also found that AKBA significantly suppressed NF-κB activation in the tumor tissue and expression of pro-inflammatory (COX2), tumor survival (bcl-2, bcl-xL, IAP-1, survivin), proliferative (cyclin D1), invasive (ICAM-1, MMP-9) and angiogenic (CXCR4 and VEGF) biomarkers. When examined for serum and tissue levels of AKBA, a dose-dependent increase in the levels of the drug was detected, indicating its bioavailability. Thus, our findings suggest that this boswellic acid analogue can inhibit the growth and metastasis of human CRC in vivo through downregulation of cancer-associated biomarkers.
AKBA; colorectal cancer; NF-κB; growth; metastasis
Most chronic diseases - such as cancer, cardiovascular disease (CVD), Alzheimer disease, Parkinson disease, arthritis, diabetes and obesity - are becoming leading causes of disability and death all over the world. Some of the most common causes of these age-associated chronic diseases are lack of physical activity, poor nutrition, tobacco use, and excessive alcohol consumption. All the risk factors linked to these chronic diseases have been shown to up-regulate inflammation. Therefore, downregulation of inflammation-associated risk factors could prevent or delay these age-associated diseases. Although modern science has developed several drugs for treating chronic diseases, most of these drugs are enormously expensive and are associated with serious side effects and morbidity. In this review, we present evidence on how chronic inflammation leads to age-associated chronic disease. Furthermore, we discuss diet and lifestyle as solutions for age-associated chronic disease.
chronic disease; aging; inflammation; diet; life style
Curcumin (diferuloylmethane), the active ingredient in turmeric (Curcuma longa), is a highly pleiotropic molecule with anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant, chemopreventive, chemosensitization, and radiosensitization activities. The pleiotropic activities attributed to curcumin come from its complex molecular structure and chemistry, as well as its ability to influence multiple signaling molecules. Curcumin has been shown to bind by multiple forces directly to numerous signaling molecules, such as inflammatory molecules, cell survival proteins, protein kinases, protein reductases, histone acetyltransferase, histone deacetylase, glyoxalase I, xanthine oxidase, proteasome, HIV1 integrase, HIV1 protease, sarco (endo) plasmic reticulum Ca2+ ATPase, DNA methyltransferases 1, FtsZ protofilaments, carrier proteins, and metal ions. Curcumin can also bind directly to DNA and RNA. Owing to its β-diketone moiety, curcumin undergoes keto–enol tautomerism that has been reported as a favorable state for direct binding. The functional groups on curcumin found suitable for interaction with other macromolecules include the α, β-unsaturated β-diketone moiety, carbonyl and enolic groups of the β-diketone moiety, methoxy and phenolic hydroxyl groups, and the phenyl rings. Various biophysical tools have been used to monitor direct interaction of curcumin with other proteins, including absorption, fluorescence, Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) and circular dichroism (CD) spectroscopy, surface plasmon resonance, competitive ligand binding, Forster type fluorescence resonance energy transfer (FRET), radiolabeling, site-directed mutagenesis, matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization time-of-flight mass spectrometry (MALDI-TOF MS), immunoprecipitation, phage display biopanning, electron microscopy, 1-anilino-8-naphthalene-sulfonate (ANS) displacement, and co-localization. Molecular docking, the most commonly employed computational tool for calculating binding affinities and predicting binding sites, has also been used to further characterize curcumin’s binding sites. Furthermore, the ability of curcumin to bind directly to carrier proteins improves its solubility and bioavailability. In this review, we focus on how curcumin directly targets signaling molecules, as well as the different forces that bind the curcumin–protein complex and how this interaction affects the biological properties of proteins. We will also discuss various analogues of curcumin designed to bind selective targets with increased affinity.
Extensive research in the past decade has revealed cancer to be a multigenic disease caused by perturbation of multiple cell signalling pathways and dysregulation of numerous gene products, all of which have been linked to inflammation. It is also becoming evident that various lifestyle factors, such as tobacco and alcohol use, diet, environmental pollution, radiation and infections, can cause chronic inflammation and lead to tumourigenesis. Chronic diseases caused by ongoing inflammation therefore require chronic, not acute, treatment. Nutraceuticals, compounds derived from fruits, vegetables, spices and cereals, can be used chronically. This study discusses the molecular targets of some nutraceuticals that happen to be markers of chronic inflammation and how they can prevent or treat cancer. These naturally-occurring agents in the diet have great potential as anti-cancer drugs, thus proving Hippocrates, who proclaimed 25 centuries ago, ‘Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food’.
Dietary agents; inflammation; cancer
The transcription factor, signal transducer and activator of transcription 3 (STAT3), is associated with proliferation, survival, and metastasis of cancer cells. We investigated whether gambogic acid (GA), a xanthone derived from the resin of traditional Chinese medicine, Gamboge hanburyi (mangosteen), can regulate the STAT3 pathway, leading to suppression of growth and sensitization of cancer cells. We found that GA induced apoptosis in human multiple myeloma cells that correlated with the inhibition of both constitutive and inducible STAT3 activation. STAT3 phosphorylation at both tyrosine residue 705 and serine residue 727 was inhibited by GA. STAT3 suppression was mediated through the inhibition of activation of the protein tyrosine kinases Janus-activated kinase (JAK) 1, and JAK2. Treatment with the protein tyrosine phosphatase (PTP) inhibitor pervanadate reversed the GA-induced down-regulation of STAT3, suggesting the involvement of a PTP. We also found that GA induced the expression of the PTP SHP-1. Deletion of the SHP-1 gene by small interfering RNA suppressed the ability of GA to inhibit STAT3 activation and to induce apoptosis, suggesting the critical role of SHP-1 in its action. Moreover, GA down-regulated the expression of STAT3-regulated antiapoptotic (Bcl-2, Bcl-xL, and Mcl-1), proliferative (cyclin D1), and angiogenic (VEGF) proteins, and this correlated with suppression of proliferation and induction of apoptosis. Overall, these results suggest that GA blocks STAT3 activation, leading to suppression of tumor cell proliferation and induction of apoptosis.
Gambogic acid; STAT3; Apoptosis; Proliferation; Cancer
Although consumption of fruits, vegetables, spices, cereals and pulses has been associated with lower incidence of cancer and other chronic diseases, how these dietary agents and their active ingredients minimize these diseases, is not fully understood. Whether it is oranges, kawa, hops, water-lilly, locorice, wax apple or mulberry, they are all connected by a group of aromatic ketones, called chalcones (1,3-diaryl-2-propen-1-ones). Some of the most significant chalcones identified from these plants include flavokawin, butein, xanthoangelol, 4-hydroxyderricin, cardamonin, 2′,4′-dihydroxychalcone, isoliquiritigenin, isosalipurposide, and naringenin. These chalcones have been linked with immunomodulation, antibacterial, antifungal, antiviral, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, anticancer, and antidiabetic activities. The current review, however, deals with the role of various chalcones in inflammation that controls both the immune system and tumorigenesis. Inflammatory pathways have been shown to mediate the survival, proliferation, invasion, angiogenesis and metastasis of tumors. How these chalcones modulate inflammatory pathways, tumorigenesis and immune system is the focus of this review.
Chalcone; nuclear factor-κB; Inflammation; tumor cell proliferation; invasion and angiogenesis; apoptosis
Because TRAIL selectively kills tumor cells, it is being tested in cancer patients. Unfortunately, patients develop resistance to the cytokine, therefore, agents which can sensitize cells to TRAIL are urgently needed. In the present study, we investigated whether dibenzylideneacetone (DBA) can sensitize cancer cells to TRAIL and potentiates TRAIL-induced apoptosis. As indicated by accumulation of the membrane phospholipid phosphatidylserine, DNA breaks, intracellular esterase activity, and activation of caspase-8, -9, and -3, we concluded that DBA potentiated TRAIL-induced apoptosis in colon cancer cells. DBA also converted TRAIL resistant-cells to TRAIL-sensitive. When examined for the mechanism, we found that DBA decreased the expression of antiapoptotic proteins and decoy recptor-2 and increased proapoptotic proteins. DBA also induced both death receptor (DR)-5 and DR4. Knockdown of DR5 and DR4 by small interfering RNA (SiRNA) reduced the sensitizing effect of DBA on TRAIL-induced apoptosis. In addition, DBA increased the expression of CHOP proteins. Knockdown of CHOP by siRNA decreased the induction of DBA-induced DR5 expression and apoptosis. Induction of receptors by DBA, however, was p53-independent, as deletion of p53 had no effect on receptor induction. We observed that DBA-induced induction of DR5 and DR4 was mediated through generation of reactive oxygen species (ROS), as N-acetylcysteine blocked the induction of death receptors and suppression of cell survival proteins by DBA. Overall, our results demonstrate that DBA potentiates TRAIL-induced apoptosis through downregulation of cell survival proteins and upregulation of death receptors via ROS-mediated CHOP activation.
DBA; TRAIL; apoptosis; death receptors; ROS
The discovery of new uses for older, clinically approved drugs is one way to expedite drug development for cancer. Thiocolchicoside, a semisynthetic colchicoside from the plant Gloriosa superba, is a muscle relaxant and used to treat rheumatologic and orthopedic disorders because of its analgesic and anti-inflammatory mechanisms. Given that activation of the transcription factor NF-κB plays a major role in inflammation and tumorigenesis, we postulated that thiocolchicoside would inhibit NF-κB and exhibit anticancer effects through the modulation of NF-κB–regulated proteins. We show that thiocolchicoside inhibited proliferation of leukemia, myeloma, squamous cell carcinoma, breast, colon, and kidney cancer cells. Formation of tumor colonies was also suppressed by thiocolchicoside. The colchicoside induced apoptosis, as indicated by caspase-3 and poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase cleavage, and suppressed the expression of cell survival [e.g., Bcl-2, X-linked inhibitor of apoptosis (XIAP), MCL-1, bcl-xL, cIAP-1, cIAP-2, and cFLIP] proteins. Cell proliferation biomarkers such as c-MYC and phosphorylation of phosphoinositide 3-kinase and glycogen synthase kinase 3β were also blocked by thiocolchicoside. Because most cell survival and proliferation gene products are regulated by NF-κB, we studied the effect of thiocolchicoside on this transcription factor and found that thiocolchicoside inhibited NF-κB activation, degradation of inhibitory κBα (IκBα), IκBα ubiquitination, and phosphorylation, abolished the activation of IκBα kinase, and suppressed p65 nuclear translocation. This effect of thiocolchicoside on the NF-κB pathway led to inhibition of NF-κB reporter activity and cyclooxygenase-2 promoter activity. Our results indicate that thiocolchicoside exhibits anticancer activity through inhibition of NF-κB and NF-κB–regulated gene products, which provides novel insight into a half-century old drug.
Pancreatic cancer (PaCa) is one of the most lethal cancers, with an estimated 5-year survival of <5% even when patients are given the best treatment available. In addition, these treatments are often toxic and expensive, thus new agents which are safe, affordable and effective are urgently needed. We describe here the results of our study with acetyl-11-keto-β-boswellic acid (AKBA), an agent obtained from an Ayurvedic medicine, gum resin of Boswellia serrata. Whether AKBA has an activity against human PaCa, was examined in in vitro models and in an orthotopic nude mouse model of PaCa. We found that AKBA inhibited the proliferation of four different PaCa cell lines (AsPC-1, PANC-28, and MIA PaCa-2 with K-Ras and p53 mutations, and BxPC-3 with wild-type K-Ras and p53 mutation). These effects correlated with an inhibition of constitutively active NF-κB and suppression of NF-κB regulating gene expression. AKBA also induced apoptosis, and sensitized the cells to apoptotic effects of gemcitabine. In the orthotopic nude mouse model of PaCa, p.o. administration of AKBA alone (100 mg/kg) significantly inhibited the tumor growth; this activity was enhanced by gemcitabine. In addition, AKBA inhibited the metastasis of the PaCa to spleen, liver, and lungs. This correlated with decreases in Ki-67, a biomarker of proliferation, and CD31, a biomarker of microvessel density, in the tumor tissue. AKBA produced significant decreases in the expression of NF-κB regulating genes in the tissues. Immunohistochemical analysis also showed AKBA downregulated the expression of COX-2, MMP-9, CXCR4, and VEGF in the tissues. Overall these results demonstrate that AKBA can suppress the growth and metastasis of human pancreatic tumors in an orthotopic nude mouse model that correlates with modulation of multiple targets.
Curcumin, a yellow pigment present in the spice turmeric (Curcuma longa), has been linked with multiple beneficial activities, but its optimum potential is limited by poor bioavailability, in part due to lack of solubility in aqueous solvents. To overcome the solubility problem, we have recently developed a novel cyclodextrin complex of curcumin (CDC) and examined here this compound for anti-inflammatory and antiproliferative effects. Using the electrophoretic gel shift mobility assay, we found that CDC was more active than free curcumin in inhibiting TNF-induced activation of the inflammatory transcription factor NF-κB and in suppressing gene products regulated by NF-κB, including those involved in cell proliferation (cyclin D1), invasion (MMP-9), and angiogenesis (VEGF). CDC was also more active than free curcumin in inducing the death receptors DR4 and DR5. Annexin V staining, cleavage of caspase-3 and PARP, and DNA fragmentation showed that CDC was more potent than free curcumin in inducing apoptosis of leukemic cells. Antiproliferative assays also demonstrated that CDC was more active than free curcumin in suppressing proliferation of various cancer cell lines. The cyclodextrin vehicle had no effect in these assays. Compared with free curcumin, CDC had a greater cellular uptake and longer half-life in the cells. Overall we demonstrated that CDC had superior attributes compared with free curcumin for cellular uptake and for antiproliferative and anti-inflammatory activities.
Cyclodextrin complex of curcumin; Solubility; Apoptosis; NF-κB; Cancer
Most patients with cancer die not because of the tumor in the primary site, but because it has spread to other sites. Common tumors, such as breast, lung and prostate tumors, frequently metastasize to the bone. It is now well recognized that osteoclasts are responsible for the osteolysis observed in bone metastases of the tumor. RANKL, a member of the TNF superfamily and an activator of the NF-κB signaling pathway, has emerged as a major mediator of bone loss, commonly associated with cancer and other chronic inflammatory diseases. Embelin (2,5-dihydroxy-3-undecyl-1,4-benzoquinone), from an Ayurvedic medicinal plant Embelia ribes, has been shown to bind and inhibit XIAP protein and inhibit inflammatory pathways. We investigated whether embelin could inhibit osteoclastogenesis-associated bone loss induced by RANKL and by tumor cells in vitro. We found that embelin suppressed the RANKL-induced differentiation of monocytes into osteoclasts. This benzoquinone also suppressed the osteoclastogenesis induced by multiple myeloma and by breast cancer cells. This effect of embelin correlated with the suppression of NF-κB activation, inhibition of IκBα phosphorylation and IκBα degradation. Inhibition of IκBα phosphorylation was due to the inhibition of IκBα kinase activation. Furthermore, by using an inhibitor of the IκBα kinase γ or NF-κB essential modulator (NEMO), the regulatory component of the IκBα kinase complex, we demonstrated that the NF-κB signaling pathway is mandatory for RAW264.7 differentiation into osteoclasts. Thus, inhibitors of RANKL-induced NF-κB activation have great potential as therapeutic agents for osteoporosis and cancer-linked bone loss.
Osteoclastogenesis; RANKL; NF-κB; Tumors; Signaling
Inflammation, although first characterized by Cornelius Celsus, a physician in first Century Rome, it was Rudolf Virchow, a German physician in nineteenth century who suggested a link between inflammation and cancer, cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, pulmonary diseases, neurological diseases and other chronic diseases. Extensive research within last three decades has confirmed these observations and identified the molecular basis for most chronic diseases and for the associated inflammation. The transcription factor, Nuclear Factor-kappaB (NF-κB) that controls over 500 different gene products, has emerged as major mediator of inflammation. Thus agents that can inhibit NF-κB and diminish chronic inflammation have potential to prevent or delay the onset of the chronic diseases and further even treat them. In an attempt to identify novel anti-inflammatory agents which are safe and effective, in contrast to high throughput screen, we have turned to “reverse pharmacology” or “bed to benchside” approach. We found that Ayurveda, a science of long life, almost 6000 years old, can serve as a “goldmine” for novel anti-inflammatory agents used for centuries to treat chronic diseases. The current review is an attempt to provide description of various Ayurvedic plants currently used for treatment, their active chemical components, and the inflammatory pathways that they inhibit.
Almost 25 centuries ago, Hippocrates, the father of medicine, proclaimed “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.” Exploring the association between diet and health continues today. For example, we now know that as many as 35% of all cancers can be prevented by dietary changes. Carcinogenesis is a multistep process involving the transformation, survival, proliferation, invasion, angiogenesis, and metastasis of the tumor and may take up to 30 years. The pathways associated with this process have been linked to chronic inflammation, a major mediator of tumor progression. The human body consists of about 13 trillion cells, almost all of which are turned over within 100 days, indicating that 70,000 cells undergo apoptosis every minute. Thus, apoptosis/cell death is a normal physiological process, and it is rare that a lack of apoptosis kills the patient. Almost 90% of all deaths due to cancer are linked to metastasis of the tumor. How our diet can prevent cancer is the focus of this review. Specifically, we will discuss how nutraceuticals, such as allicin, apigenin, berberine, butein, caffeic acid, capsaicin, catechin gallate, celastrol, curcumin, epigallocatechin gallate, fisetin, flavopiridol, gambogic acid, genistein, plumbagin, quercetin, resveratrol, sanguinarine, silibinin, sulforaphane, taxol, γ-tocotrienol, and zerumbone, derived from spices, legumes, fruits, nuts, and vegetables, can modulate inflammatory pathways and thus affect the survival, proliferation, invasion, angiogenesis, and metastasis of the tumor. Various cell signaling pathways that are modulated by these agents will also be discussed.
Inflammation; NF-κB; Nutraceuticals; Therapeutics; Tumorigenesis
NF-κB, a transcription factor first discovered in 1986, is now known to be closely connected to the process of tumorogenesis based on a multiplicity of evidence. (1) NF-κB is activated in response to tobacco, stress, dietary agents, obesity, alcohol, infectious agents, irradiation, and environmental stimuli that account for as much as 95% of all cancers. (2) The transcription factor has been linked with transformation of cells. (3) It is constitutively active in most tumor cells. (4) It has also been linked with the survival of cancer stem cells, an early progenitor cell that has acquired self-renewal potential. (5) NF-κB regulates the expression of most anti-apoptotic gene products associated with the survival of the tumor. (6) It also regulates the gene products linked with proliferation of tumors. (7) The transcription factor controls the expression of gene products linked with invasion, angiogenesis, and metastasis of cancer. (8) While most carcinogens activate NF-κB, most chemopreventive agents suppress its activation. These observations suggest that NF-κB is intimately intertwined with cancer growth and metastasis. The mechanism that leads to constitutive activation of NF-κB in hematological, gastrointestinal, genitourinary, gynecological, thoracic head and neck, breast, and skin cancers, and the ways NF-κB is activated are the topics of discussion in this review.
NF-κB; Cancer; Constitutive expression
Although metastasis accounts for >90% of cancer-related deaths, no therapeutic that targets this process has yet been approved. Because the chemokine receptor CXCR4 is one of the targets closely linked with tumor metastasis, inhibitors of this receptor have the potential to abrogate metastasis. In the current report, we demonstrate that celastrol can downregulate the CXCR4 expression on breast cancer MCF-7 cells stably transfected with HER2, an oncogene known to induce the chemokine receptor. Downregulation of CXCR4 by the triterpenoid was not cell type-specific as downregulation occurred in colon cancer, squamous cell carcinoma, and pancreatic cancer cells. Decrease in CXCR4 expression was not due to proteolysis as neither proteasome inhibitors nor lysosomal stabilization had any effect. Quantitative reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction analysis revealed that downregulation of CXCR4 messenger RNA (mRNA) by celastrol occurred at the translational level. Chromatin immunoprecipitation analysis revealed regulation at the transcriptional level as well. Abrogation of the chemokine receptor by celastrol or by gene-silencing was accompanied by suppression of invasiveness of colon cancer cells induced by CXCL12, the ligand for CXCR4. This effect was not cell type-specific as celastrol also abolished invasiveness of pancreatic tumor cells, and this effect again correlated with the disappearance of both the CXCR4 mRNA and CXCR4 protein. Other triterpenes, such as withaferin A and gedunin, which are known to inhibit Hsp90, did not downregulate CXCR4 expression, indicating that the effects were specific to celastrol. Overall, these results show that celastrol has potential in suppressing invasion and metastasis of cancer cells by down-modulation of CXCR4 expression.
CXCR4; CXCL12; Colon cancer; NF-κB
Thymoquinone (TQ), derived from the medicinal spice Nigella sativa (also called black cumin), has been shown to exhibit anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer activities. In this report we employed polymer-based nanoparticle approach to improve upon its effectiveness and bioavailability. TQ was encapsulated with 97.5% efficiency in biodegradable nanoparticulate formulation based on poly (lactide-co-glycolide) (PLGA) and the stabilizer polyethylene glycol (PEG)-5000. Dynamic laser light scattering and transmission electron microscopy confirmed particle diameter ranged between 150–200 nm. Electrophoretic gel shift mobility assay showed that TQ nanoparticles (NP) were more active than TQ in inhibiting NF-κB activation and in suppressing the expression of cyclin D1, matrix metalloproteinase (MMP)-9, vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), markers of cell proliferation, metastasis and angiogenesis, respectively. TQ-NP was also more potent than TQ in suppressing proliferation of colon cancer, breast cancer, prostate cancer, and multiple myeloma cells. Esterase staining for plasma membrane integrity revealed that TQ-NP was more potent than TQ in sensitizing leukemic cells to TNF- and paclitaxel-induced apoptosis. Overall our results demonstrate that encapsulation of TQ into nanoparticles enhances its anti-proliferative, anti-inflammatory, and chemosensitizing effects.
Nanoparticles; Thymoquinone; Apoptosis; Inflammation; NF-κB
Whether garcinol, the active component from Garcinia indica, can modulate the sensitivity of cancer cells to TRAIL, a cytokine currently in phase II clinical trial, was investigated. We found that garcinol potentiated TRAIL-induced apoptosis of cancer cells as indicated by intracellular esterase activity, DNA strand breaks, accumulation of the membrane phospholipid phosphatidylserine, mitochondrial activity, and activation of caspase-8, -9, and -3. We found that garcinol, independent of the cell type, induced both of the TRAIL receptors, death receptors (DR)-4 and DR5. Garcinol neither induced the receptors on normal cells, nor sensitized them to TRAIL. Deletion of DR5 or DR4 by small interfering RNA significantly reduced the apoptosis induced by TRAIL and garcinol. In addition, garcinol downregulated various cell survival proteins including survivin, bcl-2, XIAP and cFLIP; and induced bid cleavage, bax and cytochrome c release. Induction of DRs by garcinol was found to be independent of modulation of CHOP, p53, bax, ERK or JNK. The effect of garcinol was mediated through the generation of reactive oxygen species, in as much as both induction of DRs, modulation of antiapoptotic and proapoptotic proteins and potentiation of TRAIL-induced apoptosis were abolished by N-acetyl cysteine and glutathione. Interestingly, garcinol also converted TRAIL-resistant cells to TRAIL-sensitive. Overall, our results indicate that garcinol can potentiate TRAIL-induced apoptosis through upregulation of death receptors and downregulation of antiapoptotic proteins.
TRAIL; garcinol; apoptosis; death receptors; potentiation
Traditional medicine and diet has served mankind through the ages for prevention and treatment of most chronic diseases. Mounting evidence suggests that chronic inflammation mediates most chronic diseases, including cancer. More than other transcription factors, nuclear factor-kappaB (NF-κB) and STAT3 have emerged as major regulators of inflammation, cellular transformation, and tumor cell survival, proliferation, invasion, angiogenesis, and metastasis. Thus, agents that can inhibit NF-κB and STAT3 activation pathways have the potential to both prevent and treat cancer. In this review, we examine the potential of one group of compounds called triterpenes, derived from traditional medicine and diet for their ability to suppress inflammatory pathways linked to tumorigenesis. These triterpenes include avicins, betulinic acid, boswellic acid, celastrol, diosgenin, madecassic acid, maslinic acid, momordin, saikosaponins, platycodon, pristimerin, ursolic acid, and withanolide. This review thus supports the famous adage of Hippocrates, “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food”.
triterpenoids; nuclear factor-κB; inflammation; tumor cell proliferation; invasion; angiogenesis; apoptosis
Cancer is a hyperproliferative disorder that is usually treated by chemotherapeutic agents that are toxic not only to tumor cells but also to normal cells, so these agents produce major side effects. In addition, these agents are highly expensive and thus not affordable for most. Moreover, such agents cannot be used for cancer prevention. Traditional medicines are generally free of the deleterious side effects and usually inexpensive. Curcumin, a component of turmeric (Curcuma longa), is one such agent that is safe, affordable, and efficacious. How curcumin kills tumor cells is the focus of this review. We show that curcumin modulates growth of tumor cells through regulation of multiple cell signaling pathways including cell proliferation pathway (cyclin D1, c-myc), cell survival pathway (Bcl-2, Bcl-xL, cFLIP, XIAP, c-IAP1), caspase activation pathway (caspase-8, 3, 9), tumor suppressor pathway (p53, p21) death receptor pathway (DR4, DR5), mitochondrial pathways, and protein kinase pathway (JNK, Akt, and AMPK). How curcumin selectively kills tumor cells, and not normal cells, is also described in detail.
apoptosis; cancer; curcumin; molecular targets; signaling pathways.
Glyphosate (N-(phosphonomethyl) glycine, C3H8NO5P), a herbicide, used to control unwanted annual and perennial plants all over the world. Nevertheless, occupational and environmental exposure to pesticides can pose a threat to nontarget species including human beings. Therefore, in the present study, genotoxic effects of the herbicide glyphosate were analyzed by measuring chromosomal aberrations (CAs) and micronuclei (MN) in bone marrow cells of Swiss albino mice. A single dose of glyphosate was given intraperitoneally (i.p) to the animals at a concentration
of 25 and 50 mg/kg b.wt. Animals of positive control group were injected i.p. benzo(a)pyrene
(100 mg/kg b.wt., once only), whereas, animals of control (vehicle) group were injected i.p. dimethyl sulfoxide (0.2 mL). Animals from all the groups were sacrificed at sampling times of 24, 48, and 72 hours and their bone marrow was analyzed for cytogenetic and chromosomal damage. Glyphosate treatment significantly increases CAs and MN induction at both treatments and time compared with the vehicle control (P < .05). The cytotoxic effects of glyphosate were also evident, as observed by significant decrease in mitotic index (MI). The present results indicate that glyphosate is clastogenic and cytotoxic to mouse bone marrow.