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author:("Sung, bokyong")
1.  Humulus japonicus extract exhibits antioxidative and anti-aging effects via modulation of the AMPK-SIRT1 pathway 
The perennial herb, Humulus japonicus, has been previously described as possessing potential antituberculosis and anti-inflammatory properties. In the present study, the anti-aging activity of ethanol extracts from the leaves of H. japonicus (HJE) was evaluated in yeast and human fibroblast cells. In addition, the antioxidant activity of HJE was analyzed using free radical scavenging assays. Furthermore, the mechanism underlying the hypothesized HJE-associated extension of lifespan was investigated, and the results indicated that HJE was able to extend the lifespan of yeast cells. Further experiments demonstrated that HJE upregulated the longevity-associated proteins, sirtuin 1 and AMP-activated protein kinase, and effectively inhibited the generation of reactive oxygen species (ROS). In addition, the antioxidative potential of the active constituents of HJE, including luteolin, luteolin 7-glycoside, quercetin and quercitrin, was evaluated and the results demonstrated that these flavonoids were able to scavenge ROS in cell-free and intracellular systems. In summary, the results revealed that HJE possessed the potential for antioxidative activity; however, further in vivo investigations are required with the aim of developing safe, high-efficacy anti-aging agents.
PMCID: PMC4471809  PMID: 26136899
Humulus japonicus; reactive oxygen species; flavonoid; lifespan; aging
2.  Cytotoxic effects of solvent-extracted active components of Salvia miltiorrhiza Bunge on human cancer cell lines 
Herbal extracts and dietary supplements may be extracted from the medicinal plants used in traditional Chinese medicine, and are used increasingly commonly worldwide for their benefits to health and quality of life. Thus, ensuring that they are safe for human consumption is a critical issue for the preparation of plant extracts as dietary supplements. The present study investigated extracts of Salvia miltiorrhiza Bunge (S. miltiorrhiza), traditionally used in Asian countries to treat a variety of conditions, as a dietary supplement or as an ingredient in functional foods. Dried S. miltiorrhiza root was extracted with various solvents and under varying extraction conditions, and the effects of the extracts on the viability of five human cancer cell lines were compared. Extracts obtained using 100% ethanol and 100% acetone as solvents exhibited more potent effects compared with extracts obtained using 70 and 30% aqueous ethanol. Furthermore, the active components of S. miltiorrhiza ethanol extracts, known as tanshinones, were investigated. Dihydrotanshinone I was observed to exhibit a higher cytotoxic potential compared with the other tanshinones in the majority of the examined cell lines. Conversely, cryptotanshinone exhibited weak anti-cancer activity. In summary, the results of the present study suggest that the active components obtained from an ethanol extract of S. miltiorrhiza possess the potential to be used as ingredients in functional and health care foods that may be used to improve the effectiveness of chemotherapeutics in the prevention and/or treatment of cancer.
PMCID: PMC4353753  PMID: 25780445
Salvia miltiorrhiza Bunge; extraction; tanshinones; cancer
3.  K-Ras Promotes Angiogenesis Mediated by Immortalized Human Pancreatic Epithelial Cells through Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinase Signaling Pathways 
Molecular cancer research : MCR  2009;7(6):799-808.
Activating point mutations in the K-Ras oncogene are among the most common genetic alterations in pancreatic cancer, occurring early in the progression of the disease. However, the function of mutant K-Ras activity in tumor angiogenesis remains poorly understood. Using human pancreatic duct epithelial (HPDE) and K-Ras4BG12V–transformed HPDE (HPDE-KRas) cells, we show that activated K-Ras significantly enhanced the production of angiogenic factors including CXC chemokines and vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF). Western blot analysis revealed that K-Ras activation promoted the phosphorylation of Raf/mitogen-activated protein kinase kinase-1/2 (MEK1/2) and expression of c-Jun. MEK1/2 inhibitors, U0126 and PD98059, significantly inhibited the secretion of both CXC chemokines and VEGF, whereas the c-Jun NH2-terminal kinase inhibitor SP600125 abrogated only CXC chemokine production. To further elucidate the biological functions of oncogenic K-Ras in promoting angiogenesis, we did in vitro invasion and tube formation assays using human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVEC). HUVEC cocultured with HPDE-KRas showed significantly enhanced invasiveness and tube formation as compared with either control (without coculture) or coculture with HPDE. Moreover, SB225002 (a CXCR2 inhibitor) and 2C3 (an anti-VEGF monoclonal antibody) either alone or in a cooperative manner significantly reduced the degree of both Ras-dependent HUVEC invasiveness and tube formation. Similar results were obtained using another pair of immortalized human pancreatic duct–derived cells, E6/E7/st and its oncogenic K-Ras variant, E6/E7/Ras/st. Taken together, our results suggest that angiogenesis is initiated by paracrine epithelial secretion of CXC chemokines and VEGF downstream of activated oncogenic K-Ras, and that this vascular maturation is in part dependent on MEK1/2 and c-Jun signaling.
PMCID: PMC4267726  PMID: 19509115
4.  Modulation of Colitis-associated Colon Tumorigenesis by Baicalein and Betaine 
Journal of Cancer Prevention  2014;19(3):153-160.
In this review, we will summarize the current understanding of modulation of colitis-associated colon tumorigenesis by two natural products, baicalein and betaine, which have anti-inflammatory activities. Baicalein and betaine have been shown to provide various health benefits to organism in many ways. Baicalein is a phenolic flavonoid derived originally from the root of Scutellaria baicalensis Georgi. From ancient times, baicalein has widely been used in oriental medicines as an anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer therapy. Betaine, trimethylglycine, is an essential biochemical molecule of the methionine/homocysteine cycle and is synthesized by conversion of choline. Betaine is an important human nutrient obtained from various foods including sugar beet and lycium. Betaine has provided various health benefits including disease prevention. However, the action mechanisms of their activity remain poorly understood. Recent studies reported the effects of baicalein and betaine on cytotoxicity against colon cancer cells and chemically induced colitis-associated colon tumorigenesis in mice. Administrations of baicalein and betaine containing diets significantly inhibited the incidence of tumors and hyperplasia with down-regulation of inflammation. Therefore, baicalein and betaine might be applicable to the prevention of inflammation-associated colon carcinogenesis.
PMCID: PMC4189507  PMID: 25337584
Baicalein; Betaine; Inflammatory bowel disease; Colon cancer; Azoxymethane/dextran sodium sulfate model
5.  Curcumin Glucuronides: Assessing the Proliferative Activity against Human Cell Lines 
Bioorganic & medicinal chemistry  2013;22(1):435-439.
A gram scale synthesis of the glucuronide metabolites of curcumin were completed in four steps. The newly synthesized curcumin glucuronide compounds 2 and 3 along with curcumin 1 were tested and their anti-proliferative effects against KBM-5, Jurkat cell, U266, and A549 cell lines were reported. Biological data revealed that as much as 1 μM curcumin 1 exhibited anticancer activity and almost 100% cell kill was noted at 10 μM on two out of four cell lines; while curcumin mono-glucuronide 2 as well as diglucuronide 3 displayed no suppression of cell proliferation.
PMCID: PMC4128398  PMID: 24280069
6.  Curcumin: an orally bioavailable blocker of TNF and other pro-inflammatory biomarkers 
British Journal of Pharmacology  2013;169(8):1672-1692.
TNFs are major mediators of inflammation and inflammation-related diseases, hence, the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved the use of blockers of the cytokine, TNF-α, for the treatment of osteoarthritis, inflammatory bowel disease, psoriasis and ankylosis. These drugs include the chimeric TNF antibody (infliximab), humanized TNF-α antibody (Humira) and soluble TNF receptor-II (Enbrel) and are associated with a total cumulative market value of more than $20 billion a year. As well as being expensive ($15 000–20 000 per person per year), these drugs have to be injected and have enough adverse effects to be given a black label warning by the FDA. In the current report, we describe an alternative, curcumin (diferuloylmethane), a component of turmeric (Curcuma longa) that is very inexpensive, orally bioavailable and highly safe in humans, yet can block TNF-α action and production in in vitro models, in animal models and in humans. In addition, we provide evidence for curcumin's activities against all of the diseases for which TNF blockers are currently being used. Mechanisms by which curcumin inhibits the production and the cell signalling pathways activated by this cytokine are also discussed. With health-care costs and safety being major issues today, this golden spice may help provide the solution.
Linked Articles
This article is part of a themed section on Emerging Therapeutic Aspects in Oncology. To view the other articles in this section visit
PMCID: PMC3753829  PMID: 23425071
bioavailability; chronic diseases; curcumin; inflammation; TNF blockers; TNF
7.  Prevention and Treatment of Colorectal Cancer by Natural Agents From Mother Nature 
Colorectal cancer (CRC) is the third most commonly diagnosed cancer in the United States after cancers of the lung and the breast/prostate. While the incidence of CRC in the United States is among the highest in the world (approximately 52/100,000), its incidence in countries in India is among the lowest (approximately 7/100,000), suggesting that lifestyle factors may play a role in development of the disease. Whereas obesity, excessive alcohol consumption, a high-calorie diet, and a lack of physical activity promote this cancer, evidence indicates that foods containing folates, selenium, Vitamin D, dietary fiber, garlic, milk, calcium, spices, vegetables, and fruits are protective against CRC in humans. Numerous agents from “mother nature” (also called “nutraceuticals,”) that have potential to both prevent and treat CRC have been identified. The most significant discoveries relate to compounds such as cardamonin, celastrol, curcumin, deguelin, diosgenin, thymoquinone, tocotrienol, ursolic acid, and zerumbone. Unlike pharmaceutical drugs, these agents modulate multiple targets, including transcription factors, growth factors, tumor cell survival factors, inflammatory pathways, and invasion and angiogenesis linked closely to CRC. We describe the potential of these dietary agents to suppress the growth of human CRC cells in culture and to inhibit tumor growth in animal models. We also describe clinical trials in which these agents have been tested for efficacy in humans. Because of their safety and affordability, these nutraceuticals provide a novel opportunity for treatment of CRC, an “old age” disease with an “age old” solution.
PMCID: PMC3693477  PMID: 23814530
nutraceuticals; CRC; curcumin; gingerol; piperine
8.  Boswellic acid exerts antitumor effects in colorectal cancer cells by modulating expression of the let-7 and miR-200 microRNA family 
Carcinogenesis  2012;33(12):2441-2449.
Colorectal cancer (CRC) is a complex disease with genetic and epigenetic alterations in many key oncogenes and tumor suppressor genes. The active principle of a gum resin from Boswellia serrata, 3-acetyl-11-keto-β-boswellic acid (AKBA), has recently gained attention as a chemopreventive compound due to its ability to target key oncogenic proteins such as 5-lipoxygenase and nuclear factor-kappaB. AKBA has been shown to inhibit the growth of CRC cells; however, the precise molecular mechanisms underlying its anticancer activities in CRC remain unclear. We hypothesized that boswellic acids may achieve their chemopreventive effects by modulating specific microRNA (miRNA) pathways. We found that AKBA significantly up-regulated expression of the let-7 and miR-200 families in various CRC cell lines. Both let-7 and miR-200 are putative tumor-suppressive miRNAs. AKBA modulated the expression of several downstream targets of the let-7 and miR-200 families, such as CDK6, vimentin and E-cadherin. These data were further strengthened by miRNA knockdown studies, which revealed that inhibition of let-7i facilitated enhanced cancer cell proliferation, migration and invasion. In addition, AKBA also induced similar modulation of the let-7 and miR-200 downstream genes in CRC tumors orthotopically implanted in nude mice. These results indicate that AKBA-induced antitumor effects in CRC occur, at least partly through the up-regulation of specific miRNA pathways. Our data provide novel evidence that anticancer effects of boswellic acids are due in part to their ability to regulate cellular epigenetic machinery and further highlight the promise for this phytochemical in the preventative and therapeutic applications of CRC.
PMCID: PMC3510738  PMID: 22983985
9.  Capsazepine, a TRPV1 antagonist, sensitizes colorectal cancer cells to apoptosis by TRAIL through ROSg–JNK–CHOP-mediated upregulation of death receptors 
Free radical biology & medicine  2012;53(10):1977-1987.
A major problem in clinical trials of tumor necrosis factor-related apoptosis-inducing ligand (TRAIL) as cancer therapy is the development of resistance to TRAIL. Therefore, agents that can overcome TRAIL resistance have great therapeutic potential. In this study, we evaluated capsazepine, a TRPV1 antagonist, for its ability to sensitize human colon cancer cells to TRAIL-induced apoptosis. Capsazepine potentiated the effect of TRAIL, as shown by its effect on intracellular esterase activity; activation of caspase-8,–9, and -3; and colony-formation assay. Capsazepine induced death receptors (DRs) DR5 and DR4, but not decoy receptors, at the transcriptional level and in a non-cell-type-specific manner. DR induction was dependent on CCAAT/enhancer-binding protein homologous protein (CHOP), as shown by (a) the induction of CHOP by capsazepine and (b) the abolition of DR- and potentiation of TRAIL-induced apoptosis by CHOP gene silencing. CHOP induction was also reactive oxygen species (ROS)-dependent, as shown by capsazepine’s ability to induce ROS and by the quenching of ROS by N-acetylcysteine or glutathione, which prevented induction of CHOP and DR5 and consequent sensitization to TRAIL. Capsazepine’s effects appeared to be mediated via JNK, as shown by capsazepine’s ability to induce JNK and by the suppression of both CHOP and DR5 activation by inhibition of JNK. Furthermore, ROS sequestration abrogated the activation of JNK. Finally, capsazepine downregulated the expression of various antiapoptotic proteins (e.g., cFLIP and survivin) and increased the expression of proapoptotic proteins (e.g., Bax and p53). Together, our results indicate that capsazepine potentiates the apoptotic effects of TRAIL through downregulation of cell survival proteins and upregulation of death receptors via the ROS–JNK–CHOP-mediated pathway.
PMCID: PMC3731040  PMID: 22922338
TRPV1 antagonist; TRAIL; Apoptosis; Death receptor; Free radicals
10.  Ursolic Acid Inhibits Growth and Metastasis of Human Colorectal Cancer in an Orthotopic Nude Mouse Model by Targeting Multiple Cell Signaling Pathways: Chemosensitization with Capecitabine 
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.
Experimental design
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.
PMCID: PMC3677707  PMID: 22832932
11.  Cardamonin Inhibits Osteoclastogenesis Induced by Tumor Cells Through Interruption of the Signaling Pathway Activated by Receptor Activator of NF-κB Ligand 
Cancer letters  2011;10.1016/j.canlet.2011.12.011.
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.
PMCID: PMC3769506  PMID: 22182452
Osteoclastogenesis; RANKL; NF-κB; Cancer; Cardamonin
12.  Zyflamend Suppresses Growth and Sensitizes Human Pancreatic Tumors to Gemcitabine in an Orthotopic Mouse Model Through Modulation of Multiple Targets 
Agents that can potentiate the efficacy of standard chemotherapy against pancreatic cancer are of great interest. Because of their low cost and safety, patients commonly use a variety of dietary supplements, although evidence of their efficacy is often lacking. One such commonly used food supplement, Zyflamend, is a polyherbal preparation with potent anti-inflammatory activities, and preclinical efficacy against prostate and oral cancer. Whether Zyflamend has any efficacy against human pancreatic cancer alone or in combination with gemcitibine, a commonly used agent, was examined in cell cultures and in an orthotopic mouse model. In vitro, Zyflamend inhibited the proliferation of pancreatic cancer cell lines regardless of p53 status and also enhanced gemcitabine-induced apoptosis. This finding correlated with inhibition of NF-κB activation by Zyflamend and suppression of cyclin D1, c-myc, COX-2, Bcl-2, IAP, survivin, VEGF, ICAM-1, and CXCR4. In nude mice, oral administration of Zyflamend alone significantly inhibited the growth of orthotopically transplanted human pancreatic tumors, and when combined with gemcitabine, further enhanced the antitumor effects. Immunohistochemical and Western blot analyses of tumor tissue showed that the suppression of pancreatic cancer growth correlated with inhibition of proliferation index marker (Ki-67), COX-2, MMP-9, NF-κB, and VEGF. Overall, these results suggest that the concentrated multiherb product Zyflamend alone can inhibit the growth of human pancreatic tumors and, in addition, can sensitize pancreatic cancers to gemcitabine through the suppression of multiple targets linked to tumorigenesis.
PMCID: PMC3288649  PMID: 21935918
Zyflamend; pancreatic cancer; inflammation
13.  RANKL Signaling and Osteoclastogenesis Is Negatively Regulated by Cardamonin 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(5):e64118.
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.
PMCID: PMC3656934  PMID: 23691159
14.  Boswellic Acid Inhibits Growth and Metastasis of Human Colorectal Cancer in Orthotopic Mouse Model By Downregulating Inflammatory, Proliferative, Invasive, and Angiogenic Biomarkers 
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.
PMCID: PMC3246525  PMID: 21702037
AKBA; colorectal cancer; NF-κB; growth; metastasis
15.  Age-Associated Chronic Diseases Require Age-Old Medicine: Role of Chronic Inflammation 
Preventive Medicine  2011;54(Suppl):S29-S37.
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.
PMCID: PMC3340492  PMID: 22178471
chronic disease; aging; inflammation; diet; life style
16.  Zyflamend Sensitizes Tumor Cells to TRAIL-Induced Apoptosis Through Up-Regulation of Death Receptors and Down-Regulation of Survival Proteins: Role of ROS-Dependent CCAAT/Enhancer-Binding Protein-Homologous Protein Pathway 
Antioxidants & Redox Signaling  2012;16(5):413-427.
Aim: TNF (tumor necrosis factor)-related apoptosis-inducing ligand (TRAIL), is a selective killer of tumor cells, although its potential is limited by the development of resistance. In this article, we investigated whether the polyherbal preparation Zyflamend® can sensitize tumor cells to TRAIL. Results: We found that Zyflamend potentiated TRAIL-induced apoptosis in human cancer cells. Zyflamend manifested its effects through several mechanisms. First, it down-regulated the expression of cell survival proteins known to be linked to resistance to TRAIL. Second, Zyflamend up-regulated the expression of pro-apoptotic protein, Bax. Third, Zyflamend up-regulated the expression of death receptors (DRs) for TRAIL. Up-regulation of DRs was critical as gene-silencing of these receptors significantly reduced the effect of Zyflamend on TRAIL-induced apoptosis. The up-regulation of DRs was dependent on CCAAT/enhancer-binding protein-homologous protein (CHOP), as Zyflamend induced CHOP, its gene-silencing abolished the induction of receptors, and mutation of the CHOP binding site on DR5 promoter abolished Zyflamend-mediated DR5 transactivation. Zyflamend mediated its effects through reactive oxygen species (ROS), as ROS quenching reduced its effect. Further, Zyflamend induced DR5 and CHOP and down-regulated the expression of cell survival proteins in nude mice bearing human pancreatic cancer cells. Innovation: Zyflamend can sensitize tumor cells to TRAIL through modulation of multiple cell signaling mechanisms that are linked to ROS. Conclusion: Zyflamend potentiates TRAIL-induced apoptosis through the ROS-CHOP-mediated up-regulation of DRs, increase in pro-apoptotic protein and down-regulation of cell survival proteins. Antioxid. Redox Signal. 16, 413–427.
PMCID: PMC3261028  PMID: 22004570
17.  Cancer and diet: How are they related? 
Free radical research  2011;45(8):864-879.
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’.
PMCID: PMC3564493  PMID: 21651450
Dietary agents; inflammation; cancer
18.  Plumbagin Inhibits Osteoclastogenesis and Reduces Human Breast Cancer-induced Osteolytic Bone Metastasis in Mice through Suppression of RANKL Signaling 
Molecular Cancer Therapeutics  2011;11(2):350-359.
Bone loss is one of the major complications of advanced cancers such as breast cancer, prostate cancer and multiple myeloma; agents that can suppress this bone loss have therapeutic potential. Extensive research within the last decade has revealed that RANKL, a member of the tumor necrosis factor superfamily, plays a major role in cancer-associated bone resorption, and thus is a therapeutic target. We investigated the potential of vitamin K3 analogue plumbagin (derived from Chitrak, an Ayurvedic medicinal plant), to modulate RANKL signaling, osteoclastogenesis and breast cancer–induced osteolysis. Plumbagin suppressed RANKL-induced NF-κB activation in mouse monocytes, an osteoclast precursor cell, through sequential inhibition of activation of IκBα kinase, IκBα phosphorylation and IκBα degradation. Plumbagin also suppressed differentiation of these cells into osteoclasts induced either by RANKL or by human breast cancer or human multiple myeloma cells. When examined for its ability to prevent human breast cancer–induced bone loss in animals, plumbagin (2 mg/kg body weight), when administered via the intraperitoneal route, significantly decreased osteolytic lesions resulting in preservation of bone volume in nude mice bearing human breast tumors. Overall, our results indicate that plumbagin, a vitamin K analogue, is a potent inhibitor of osteoclastogenesis induced by tumor cells and of breast cancer–induced osteolytic metastasis through suppression of RANKL signaling.
PMCID: PMC3277663  PMID: 22090419
Plumbagin; NF-κB; RANKL; osteoclastogenesis
19.  Suppression of pro-inflammatory and proliferative pathways by diferuloylmethane (curcumin) and its analogues dibenzoylmethane, dibenzoylpropane, and dibenzylideneacetone: role of Michael acceptors and Michael donors 
Biochemical pharmacology  2011;82(12):1901-1909.
Curcumin, a diferuloylmethane, has been shown to exhibit anti-inflammatory and anti-proliferative activities. Whereas curcumin has both a Michael acceptor and a Michael donor units, its analogues dibenzoylmethane (DBM, a component of licorice) and dibenzoylpropane (DBP) have a Michael donor but not a Michael acceptor unit, and the analogue dibenzylideneacetone (DBA) has a Michael acceptor unit. In the current report, we investigated the potency of DBM, DBP, and DBA in relation to curcumin for their ability to suppress TNF-induced NF-κB activation, NF-κB-regulated gene products, and cell proliferation. We found that all four agents were active in suppressing NF-κB activation; curcumin was most active and DBM was least active. When examined for its ability to inhibit the direct DNA binding activity of p65, a subunit of NF-κB, only DBP inhibited the binding. For inhibition of TNF-induced IKK activation, DBA was most active. For suppression of TNF-induced expression of NF-κB regulated gene products such as COX-2 (inflammation marker), cyclin D1 (proliferation marker), and VEGF (angiogenesis marker), DBA and curcumin were more active than DBM. Similarly for suppression of proliferation of leukemia (KBM-5), T cell leukemia (Jurkat), prostate (DU145), and breast (MDA-MB-231) cancer cells, curcumin and DBA were most active and DBP was least active. Overall, our results indicate that although curcumin and its analogues exhibit activities to suppress inflammatory pathways and cellular proliferation, a lack of Michael acceptor units in DBM and DBP can reduce their activities.
PMCID: PMC3216474  PMID: 21924245
Curcumin analogues; NF-κB; cell proliferation; Michael acceptor
20.  NF-κB in cancer: A Matter of Life and Death 
Cancer discovery  2011;1(6):469-471.
Activation of NF-κB has been linked to various cellular processes in cancer, including inflammation, transformation, proliferation, angiogenesis, invasion, metastasis, chemoresistance, and radioresistance. Although acute inflammation mediates innate and humoral immunity, chronic inflammation has been linked to tumorigenesis. Thus, inhibition of NF-κB has therapeutic potential in sensitization of tumors to chemotherapeutic agents; however, generalized suppression of NF-κB can result in serious host toxicity with minimum effect on the tumor.
PMCID: PMC3392037  PMID: 22586649
21.  Triptolide, Histone Acetyltransferase Inhibitor, Suppresses Growth and Chemosensitizes Leukemic Cells Through Inhibition of Gene Expression Regulated by TNF-TNFR1-TRADD-TRAF2-NIK-TAK1-IKK Pathway 
Biochemical pharmacology  2011;82(9):1134-1144.
Triptolide, a diterpene triepoxide, from the Chinese herb Tripterygium wilfordii Hook.f, exerts its anti-inflammatory and immunosuppressive activities by inhibiting the transcription factor nuclear factor-κB (NF-κB) pathway, through a mechanism not yet fully understood. We found that triptolide, in nanomolar concentrations, suppressed both constitutive and inducible NF-κB activation, but did not directly inhibit binding of p65 to the DNA. The diterpene did block TNF-induced ubiquitination, phosphorylation, and degradation of IκBα, the inhibitor of NF-κB and inhibited acetylation of p65 through suppression of binding of p65 to CBP/p300. Triptolide also inhibited the IκBα kinase (IKK) that activates NF-κB and phosphorylation of p65 at serine 276, 536. Furthermore, the NF-κB reporter activity induced by TNF-TNFR1-TRADD-TRAF2- NIK-TAK1-IKKβ was abolished by the triepoxide. Triptolide also abrogated TNF-induced expression of cell survival proteins (XIAP, Bcl-xL, Bcl-2, survivin, cIAP-1 and cIAP-2), cell proliferative proteins (cyclin D1, c-myc and cyclooxygenase-2), and metastasis proteins (ICAM-1 and MMP-9). This led to enhancement of apoptosis induced by TNF, taxol, and thalidomide by the diterpene and to suppression of tumor invasion. Overall, our results demonstrate that triptolide can block the inflammatory pathway activated by TNF-TNFR1-TRADD-TRAF2-NIK-TAK1-IKK, sensitizes cells to apoptosis, and inhibits invasion of tumor cells.
PMCID: PMC3191321  PMID: 21820422
Triptolide; TNF; NF-κB; CBP/p300
22.  Curcumin suppresses proliferation and induces apoptosis in human biliary cancer cells through modulation of multiple cell signaling pathways 
Carcinogenesis  2011;32(9):1372-1380.
Cholangiocarcinoma (CCA) is a tumor with poor prognosis that is resistant to all currently available treatments. Whether curcumin, a nutraceutical derived from turmeric (Curcuma longa), has potential therapeutic activity against human CCA was investigated using three CCA cell lines (KKU100, KKU-M156 and KKU-M213). Examination of mitochondrial dehydrogenase activity, phosphatidylserine externalization, esterase staining, caspase activation and poly-adenosine diphosphate ribose polymerase cleavage demonstrated that curcumin inhibited proliferation of and induced apoptosis in these biliary cancer cells. Colony-formation assay confirmed the growth-inhibitory effect of curcumin on CCA cells. When examined for the mechanism, curcumin was found to activate multiple cell signaling pathways in these cells. First, all CCA cells exhibited constitutively active nuclear factor (NF)-κB, and treatment with curcumin abolished this activation as indicated by DNA binding, nuclear translocation and p65 phosphorylation. Second, curcumin suppressed activation of signal transducer and activator of transcription-3 as indicated by decreased phosphorylation at both tyrosine705 and serine727 and inhibition of janus kinase-1 phosphorylation. Third, curcumin induced expression of peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma. Fourth, curcumin upregulated death receptors, DR4 and DR5. Fifth, curcumin suppressed the Akt activation pathway. Sixth, curcumin inhibited expression of cell survival proteins such as B-cell lymphoma-2, B-cell leukemia protein xL, X-linked inhibitor of apoptosis protein, c-FLIP, cellular inhibitor of apoptosis protein (cIAP)-1, cIAP-2 and survivin and proteins linked to cell proliferation, such as cyclin D1 and c-Myc. Seventh, the growth inhibitory effect of curcumin was enhanced in the IκB kinase-deficient cells, the enzyme required for nuclear factor-kappaB activation. Overall, our results indicate that curcumin mediates its antiproliferative and apoptotic effects through activation of multiple cell signaling pathways, and thus, its activity against CCA should be further investigated.
PMCID: PMC3165121  PMID: 21325634
23.  Correction: Boswellic Acid Suppresses Growth and Metastasis of Human Pancreatic Tumors in an Orthotopic Nude Mouse Model through Modulation of Multiple Targets 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(8):10.1371/annotation/d4645c95-739f-4175-b753-b6fe0ba6063c.
PMCID: PMC3414630
24.  Acetyl-11-keto-β-Boswellic Acid Suppresses Invasion of Pancreatic Cancer Cells Through The Downregulation of CXCR4 Chemokine Receptor Expression 
Ninety percent of cancer-mediated deaths are due to metastasis of the tumor, but the mechanisms controlling metastasis remain poorly understood. Thus, no therapy targeting this process has yet been approved. Chemokines and their receptors are mediators of chronic inflammation and have been linked to the metastasis of numerous cancers. More recently, the CXC chemokine receptor 4 (CXCR4) has emerged as a key mediator of tumor metastasis; therefore, identification of inhibitors of this receptor has the potential to abrogate metastasis. In this report, we demonstrate that acetyl-11-keto-β-boswellic acid (AKBA), a component of the therapeutic plant Boswellia serrata, can downregulate CXCR4 expression in pancreatic cancer cells. The reduction in CXCR4 induced by this terpenoid was found to be cell-type specific, as its expression was also abrogated in leukemia, myeloma, and breast cancer cell lines. Neither proteasome inhibitors nor lysosomal stabilization could prevent the AKBA-induced reduction in CXCR4 expression, and downregulation occurred at the transcriptional level. Suppression of CXCR4 by AKBA was accompanied by the inhibition of pancreatic cancer cell invasion, which is induced by CXCL12, the ligand for CXCR4. In addition, abrogation of the expression of chemokine receptor by AKBA was found in human pancreatic tissues from orthotopic animal model. AKBA also abolished breast tumor cell invasion, and this effect correlated with the disappearance of both the CXCR4 mRNA and CXCR4 protein. Overall, our results show that AKBA is a novel inhibitor of CXCR4 expression and, thus, has the potential to suppress the invasion and metastasis of cancer cells.
PMCID: PMC3082612  PMID: 21448932
CXCR4; CXCL12; AKBA; Metastasis
25.  Epidermal growth factor down-regulates the expression of neutrophil gelatinase-associated lipocalin (NGAL) through E-cadherin in pancreatic cancer cells 
Cancer  2010;117(11):10.1002/cncr.25803.
Our group previously reported that neutrophil gelatinase-associated lipocalin (NGAL) overexpression significantly blocked invasion and angiogenesis of pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) and also demonstrated a loss of NGAL expression in the advanced stages of PDAC. However, little is known regarding mechanisms of NGAL regulation in PDAC. As EGF-EGFR axis is significantly upregulated in PDAC, we examined EGF-mediated NGAL regulation in these cells.
NGAL-positive AsPC-1 and BxPC-3 cells were used as model system. Quantitative RT-PCR, western blot analysis, and immunofluorescence studies were used to investigate EGF-mediated effects on NGAL expression. E-cadherin expression was manipulated using lentiviral overexpression or shRNA constructs. NGAL promoter activity was assessed by luciferase-reporter assay and electrophoretic mobility shift assay (EMSA).
NGAL expression was positively associated with tumor differentiation and was significantly downregulated after EGF treatment along with a concomitant reduction of E-cadherin expression in PDAC cells. E-cadherin downregulation was partly through the EGF receptor (EGFR)-dependent MEK-ERK signaling pathway. In addition, E-cadherin downregulation reduced NGAL expression in PDAC cells, whereas overexpression of E-cadherin led to increased NGAL expression and partly rescued inhibition of NGAL expression by EGF. Furthermore, EGF in part through E-cadherin reduced NGAL promoter activity by blocking NF-κB activation.
We demonstrated for the first time that EGF potently blocked NGAL expression in PDAC cells. This effect is partly mediated through activation of the EGFR-MEK-ERK signaling pathway, which in turn downregulated E-cadherin with a subsequent reduction in NF-κB activation. Our findings illustrate a novel mechanism by which EGF regulates NGAL expression in PDAC.
PMCID: PMC3134548  PMID: 24048788
neutrophil gelatinase associated lipocalin (NGAL); EGF; E-cadherin; nuclear factor-κB (NF-κB) and pancreatic cancer

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