bims-rehoca Biomed News
on Redox homeostasis in cancer
Issue of 2021‒07‒11
27 papers selected by
Vittoria Raimondi
Veneto Institute of Oncology

  1. Hum Exp Toxicol. 2021 Jul 05. 9603271211030554
      Almonertinib, a new third-generation epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) tyrosine kinase inhibitor, is highly selective to EGFR T790M-mutant non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). However, there is no available information on the form and molecular mechanism of Almonertinib-induced death in NSCLC cells. Herein, CCK-8 and colony formation assays, flow cytometry, electron microscopy, and western blots assay showed that Almonertinib inhibited NSCLC cells growth and proliferation by inducing apoptosis and autophagy which can be inhibited by a broad spectrum of caspase inhibitor Z-VAD-fmk or autophagy inhibitor chloroquine. Importantly, Almonertinib-induced autophagy was cytoprotective in NSCLC cells, and the blockade of autophagy improved cell apoptosis. In addition, Almonertinib increased reactive oxygen species (ROS) generation and clearance of ROS through pretreatment with N-acetyl-L-cysteine (NAC) inhibited the decrease of cell viability, apoptosis and increase of LC3-II induced by Almonertinib. The results of Western blot showed that both EGFR activity and downstream signaling pathways were inhibited by Almonertinib. Taken together, these findings indicated that Almonertinib induced apoptosis and autophagy by promoting ROS production in NSCLC cells.
    Keywords:  Almonertinib; apoptosis; autophagy; non-small cell lung cancer; reactive oxygen species
  2. J Nanobiotechnology. 2021 Jul 08. 19(1): 204
      BACKGROUND: Photodynamic therapy (PDT), a typical reactive oxygen species (ROS)-dependent treatment with high controllability, has emerged as an alternative cancer therapy modality but its therapeutic efficacy is still unsatisfactory due to the limited light penetration and constant oxygen consumption. With the development of another ROS-dependent paradigm ferroptosis, several efforts have been made to conquer the poor efficacy by combining these two approaches; however the biocompatibility, tumor-targeting capacity and clinical translation prospect of current studies still exist great concerns. Herein, a novel hypoxia-responsive nanoreactor BCFe@SRF with sorafenib (SRF) loaded inside, constructed by covalently connecting chlorin e6 conjugated bovine serum albumin (BSA-Ce6) and ferritin through azobenzene (Azo) linker, were prepared to offer unmatched opportunities for high-efficient PDT and ferroptosis synergistic therapy.RESULTS: The designed BCFe@SRF exhibited appropriate size distribution, stable dispersity, excellent ROS generation property, controllable drug release capacity, tumor accumulation ability, and outstanding biocompatibility. Importantly, the BCFe@SRF could be degraded under hypoxia environment to release BSA-Ce6 for laser-triggered PDT, ferritin for iron-catalyzed Fenton reaction and SRF for tumor antioxidative defense disruption. Meanwhile, besides PDT effects, it was found that BCFe@SRF mediated treatment upon laser irradiation in hypoxic environment not only could accelerate lipid peroxidation (LPO) generation but also could deplete intracellular glutathione (GSH) and decrease glutathione peroxidase (GPX4) expression, which was believed as three symbolic events during ferroptosis. All in all, the BCFe@SRF nanoreactor, employing multiple cascaded pathways to promote intracellular ROS accumulation, presented remarkably outstanding antitumor effects both in vitro and in vivo.
    CONCLUSION: BCFe@SRF could serve as a promising candidate for synergistic PDT and ferroptosis therapy, which is applicable to boost oxidative damage within tumor site and will be informative to future design of ROS-dependent therapeutic nanoplatforms.
    Keywords:  Ferroptosis; Hypoxia-responsive; Oxidation treatment; Photodynamic therapy (PDT); Protein-based nanoparticle
  3. Photodiagnosis Photodyn Ther. 2021 Jun 30. pii: S1572-1000(21)00254-4. [Epub ahead of print] 102427
      BACKGROUND: Photodynamic therapy is a clinically approved, minimally invasive,-therapeutic procedure used for the treatment of several cancers. In recent years, sunitinib, one of the tyrosine kinase inhibitors, has also attracted attention as a novel photosensitizer. However, there is currently no data available on the combined cytotoxic effects of sunitinib and photoirradiation on renal cell carcinoma including how the treatment induced cellular toxicity.METHODS: In the present study, we used sunitinib as a photosensitizer and evaluated the effects of sunitinib and photodynamic therapy treatment on renal cancer cell lines, including the induction of cell death.
    RESULTS: Our study showed that treatment with sunitinib and photoirradiation at 8 mW/cm2 for 30 min resulted in the production intracellular reactive oxygen species (ROS), which is indicated by the increase in mRNA expression levels of PAI-1, NF-κβ, and Caspase-3. An increase in rate of apoptotic reaction and increase in the expression level of apoptotic marker were also observed when cells undergo treatment with sunitinib and photoirradiation.
    CONCLUSIONS: Our findings suggest that combining photodynamic therapy with sunitinib represents a minimally invasive therapeutic procedure with cancer selectivity for renal cell carcinoma.
    Keywords:  Photodynamic Therapy; Photosensitizer; Renal Cell Carcinoma; Sunitinib
  4. Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2021 Jul 05. pii: S0006-291X(21)01010-X. [Epub ahead of print]569 79-85
      Ferroptosis is a newly identified type of regulated cell death that is affected by lipid peroxidation and reactive oxygen species (ROS). In the current study, we showed that cisplatin and PRLX93936, an analog of erastin that has been tested in clinical trials, demonstrated synergistic effects against non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) cells. Cotreatment with cisplatin and PRLX93936 induced ferroptosis, as evidenced by the upregulation of ROS, lipid peroxidation and Fe2+. Further investigation revealed that cotreatment with cisplatin and PRLX93936 inhibited GPX4 and that overexpression of GPX4 prevented cell death. Moreover, the Nrf2/Keap1 pathway also regulated the sensitivity to cisplatin and PRLX93936 in NSCLC cells. Nrf2 silencing increased this sensitivity while inhibition of Keap1 attenuated it. Overall, our data reveal a new effective treatment for NSCLC by synergizing cisplatin and PRLX93936 to induce ferroptosis.
    Keywords:  Cisplatin; Ferroptosis; GPX4; Non-small cell lung cancer; Nrf2/Keap1; PRLX93936
  5. Anim Cells Syst (Seoul). 2021 ;25(2): 119-127
      Although previous studies have shown anti-cancer activity of betulinic acid (BA), a pentacyclic triterpenoid, against various cancer lines, the underlying molecular mechanisms are not well elucidated. In this study, we evaluated the mechanisms involved in the anti-cancer efficacy of BA in U937 human myeloid leukemia cells. BA exerted a significant cytotoxic effect on U937 cells through blocking cell cycle arrest at the G2/M phase and inducing apoptosis, and that the intracellular reactive oxygen species (ROS) levels increased after treatment with BA. The down-regulation of cyclin A and cyclin B1, and up-regulation of cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitor p21WAF1/CIP1 revealed the G2/M phase arrest mechanism of BA. In addition, BA induced the cytosolic release of cytochrome c by reducing the mitochondrial membrane potential with an increasing Bax/Bcl-2 expression ratio. BA also increased the activity of caspase-9 and -3, and subsequent degradation of the poly (ADP-ribose) polymerase. However, quenching of ROS by N-acetyl-cysteine, an ROS scavenger, markedly abolished BA-induced G2/M arrest and apoptosis, indicating that the generation of ROS plays a key role in inhibiting the proliferation of U937 cells by BA treatment. Taken together, our results provide a mechanistic rationale that BA exhibits anti-cancer properties in U937 leukemia cells through ROS-dependent induction of cell cycle arrest at G2/M phase and apoptosis.
    Keywords:  Betulinic acid; G2/M arrest; ROS; apoptosis; leukemia cells
  6. J Nutr Biochem. 2021 Jul 02. pii: S0955-2863(21)00232-1. [Epub ahead of print] 108812
      It has been widely reported that cancer, along with its treatment regimens, cause severe toxicity in the host. A suitable agent having chemopreventive properties as well as capabilities of ameliorating tumor- and drug-induced toxicities is of imminent need. Pomegranate has been projected as an excellent anti-tumor, anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant agent. In this study, for the first time, we delineated the exact signaling cascade by which dietary supplementation of pomegranate fruit extract (PFE) protects tumor-bearing mice from tumor-induced hepatotoxicity. Increased activities of serum Alanine transaminase (ALT), Aspartate transaminase (AST), Lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) and Alkaline phosphatase (ALP), as well as histological studies confirmed the establishment of a state of hepatic dysfunction in tumor-bearers. Further investigations revealed that increased hepatic reactive oxygen species (ROS) content and glutathione (GSH) depletion initiated apoptosis in these hepatocytes as we observed an alteration in the apoptotic proteins. PFE supplementation in tumor-bearing mice, on the other hand, differentially modulated redox-sensitive transcription factors Nrf2 and NF-κB, ultimately decreasing tumor-induced hepatic oxidative damage and cell death. siRNA-mediated inhibition of Nrf2 and NF-κB completely abolished the hepato-protective activities of PFE while pre-treatment of tumor-conditioned hepatocytes with N-acetyl cysteine (NAC) augmented the cyto-protective properties of PFE. The present study clearly identified Nrf2/NF-κB/GSH axis as the key factor behind the hepatoprotective potential of PFE. These findings would add to the existing knowledge about cancer chemoprevention by dietary polyphenols and might lead to the application of pomegranate polyphenols as supplement to escalate the effectiveness of cancer therapy by protecting normal cells from cancer related toxicities.
    Keywords:  ALP, Alkaline phosphatase; ALT, Alanine transaminase; ARE-Antioxidant response element; AST, Aspartate transaminase; Apoptosis. Abbreviations: ROS, Reactive oxygen species; Bax- Bcl-2-associated X; Bcl-2 -B-cell lymphoma 2; CAT, Catalase; Cancer; DHE, Dihydroethidium; EAC, Erhlich's ascites carcinoma; GPx, Glutathione peroxidase; GR, Glutathione reductase; GSH, Glutathione; GSSG, Glutathione disulfide; GST, Glutathione S-transferase; HO 1, Heme oxygenase 1; Hepatotoxicity; Inflammation; IκB, Inhibitor of κB; Keap1, Kelch-like ECH-associated protein 1; LDH, Lactate dehydrogenase; NAC- N-acetyl cysteine; NF-κB; NF-κB, Nuclear factor kappa light-chain-enhancer of activated B cells; NQO 1, NAD(P)H Quinone oxidoreductase 1; Nrf2; Nrf2, Nuclear factor (erythroid-derived 2)-like 2; PFE, Pomegranate fruit extract; PMS, Post-mitochondrial supernatant; Pomegranate; Reactive Oxygen Species; SAPK/JNK, Stress activated protein Kinase/c-Jun N-terminal kinases; SOD, Superoxide dismutase; TNF-α, Tumor necrosis factor alpha
  7. Adv Mater. 2021 Jul 05. e2100795
      A critical issue in photodynamic therapy (PDT) is inadequate reactive oxygen species (ROS) generation in tumors, causing inevitable survival of tumor cells that usually results in tumor recurrence and metastasis. Existing photosensitizers frequently suffer from relatively low light-to-ROS conversion efficiency with far-red/near-infrared (NIR) light excitation due to low-lying excited states that lead to rapid non-radiative decays. Here, a neutral Ir(III) complex bearing distyryl boron dipyrromethene (BODIPY-Ir) is reported to efficiently produce both ROS and hyperthermia upon far-red light activation for potentiating in vivo tumor suppression through micellization of BODIPY-Ir to form "Micelle-Ir". BODIPY-Ir absorbs strongly at 550-750 nm with a band maximum at 685 nm, and possesses a long-lived triplet excited state with sufficient non-radiative decays. Upon micellization, BODIPY-Ir forms J-type aggregates within Micelle-Ir, which boosts both singlet oxygen generation and the photothermal effect through the high molar extinction coefficient and amplification of light-to-ROS/heat conversion, causing severe cell apoptosis. Bifunctional Micelle-Ir that accumulates in tumors completely destroys orthotopic 4T1 breast tumors via synergistic PDT/photothermal therapy (PTT) damage under light irradiation, and enables remarkable suppression of metastatic nodules in the lungs, together without significant dark cytotoxicity. The present study offers an emerging approach to develop far-red/NIR photosensitizers toward potent cancer therapy.
    Keywords:  Ir(III) complexes; nanomedicine; photosensitizers; phototherapy; tumor ablation
  8. Cell Signal. 2021 Jul 03. pii: S0898-6568(21)00164-9. [Epub ahead of print] 110075
      Autophagy can function as a survival mechanism for cancer cells and therefore, its inhibition is currently being explored as a therapy for different cancer types. For breast cancer, triple negative breast cancer (TNBC) is the subtype most sensitive to the inhibition of autophagy; but its inhibition has also been shown to promote ROS-dependent secretion of macrophage migration inhibitory factor (MIF), a pro-tumorigenic cytokine. In this work, we explore the role of MIF in breast cancer, the mechanism by which autophagy inhibition promotes MIF secretion and its effects on neighboring cancer cell signaling and macrophage polarization. We analyzed MIF mRNA expression levels in tumors from breast cancer patients from different subtypes and found that Luminal B, HER2 and Basal subtypes, which are associated to high proliferation, displayed high MIF levels. However, MIF expression had no prognostic relevance in any breast cancer subtype. In addition, we found that autophagy inhibition in 66 cl4 TNBC cells increased intracellular Reactive Oxygen Species (ROS) levels, which increased MIF expression and secretion. MIF secreted from 66 cl4 TNBC cells induced the activation of MIF-regulated pathways in syngeneic cell lines, increasing Akt phosphorylation in 4 T1 cells and ERK phosphorylation in 67NR cells. Regarding MIF/ chemokine receptors, higher levels of CD74 and CXCR2 were found in TNBC tumor cell lines when compared to non-tumorigenic cells and CXCR7 was elevated in the highly metastatic 4 T1 cell line. Finally, secreted MIF from autophagy deficient 66 cl4 cells induced macrophage polarization towards the M1 subtype. Together, our results indicate an important role for the inhibition of autophagy in the regulation of ROS-mediated MIF gene expression and secretion, with paracrine effects on cancer cell signaling and pro-inflammatory repercussions in macrophage M1 polarization. This data should be considered when considering the inhibition of autophagy as a therapy for different types of cancer.
    Keywords:  Autophagy; Macrophage; Macrophage migration inhibitory factor; Reactive oxygen species; Triple negative breast cancer
  9. Bioengineered. 2021 Dec;12(1): 2779-2790
      Based on many studies, trichosanthin (TCS) has an antiviral effect that regulates immune response, and targets cancer cells to exert broad-spectrum anti-tumor pharmacological activities. It is speculated that TCS may be a potential natural active drug for preventing as well as treating cervical cancer. But the clearer impact along with underlying TCS mechanism on cervical cancer are still unclear. The purpose of this study is to investigate the function and potential mechanism of TCS in cervical cancer. We measured the viability of cervical cancer cell lines (HeLa & caski cells) using CCK-8 analysis, detected cell proliferation efficiency through Ki-67 staining, analyzed cell apoptosis rate via flow cytometry as well as annexin V-FITC/PI double staining, performed apoptosis-related protein expression through western blotting, evaluated cell migration along with invasion by wound as well as transwell assays, carried out MMP via JC-1 and Rh123 fluorescent probes, as well as detected intracellular ATP and ROS levels by flow cytometry, respectively, to evaluate the effects of TCS. We found that TCS inhibited viability along with proliferation, induced apoptosis, as well as inhibited HeLa & caski cell migration along with invasion in a time- and dose-dependent manner. Additionally, TCS also reduced MMP, and the production of adenosine triphosphate, as well as induced the increase of intracellular reactive oxygen species in cancer cell lines. In accordance with the present studies, TCS inhibits HeLa & caski cell proliferation along with migration but promotes their apoptosis, which may be mediated by regulating oxidative stress.
    Keywords:  Trichosanthin; apoptosis; cell proliferation; cervical cancer; oxidative stress
  10. Angew Chem Int Ed Engl. 2021 Jul 06.
      Developing Type-I photosensitizers are considered as an efficient approach to overcome the deficiency of traditional photodynamic therapy (PDT) for hypoxic tumors. However, it remains a challenge to design photosensitizers for generating reactive oxygen species by the Type-I process. Herein, we report a series of α,β-linked BODIPY dimers and a trimer that exclusively generate superoxide radical (O2-•) by the Type-I process upon light irradiation. The triplet formation originates from an effective excited-state relaxation from the initially populated singlet (S1) to triplet (T1) states via an intermediate triplet (T2) state. The low reduction potential and ultralong lifetime of the T1 state facilitate the efficient generation of O2-• by inter-molecular charge transfer to molecular oxygen. The T1-S0 energy gap is smaller than that of O2 thereby precluding the generation of singlet oxygen by the Type-II process. The trimer exhibits superior PDT performance under the hypoxic environment.
    Keywords:  BODIPY; Hypoxia; photodynamic therapy; photosensitizer; superoxide radical
  11. Biomaterials. 2021 Jul 02. pii: S0142-9612(21)00347-1. [Epub ahead of print]276 120991
      The development of metal-based anticancer drugs is of considerable interest and significance in inorganic medicine. In contrast to noble metal-based small molecules, the anticancer property of earth abundant metal-based small molecules is much less explored which are usually essential trace element for the human body. Among earth abundant metals, chromium (Cr) in the +3 valent is an essential trace element for the human body to low down the blood lipids and maintain the blood sugar; on the other hand, Cr(VI) are known to be highly toxic due to their oxidation power. To design stable high-valent Cr small molecules to construct Cr(high-valent)-Cr(III) in-situ transition system to achieve low-toxic and highly efficient anti-cancer therapy is a very desirable approach. Herein we report the Cr(V)-Cr(III) in-situ transition system promotes ROS generation to achieve efficient cancer therapy in vivo and in vitro. To the best of our knowledge, these Cr-based small molecules are the first stable Cr(V) compounds with potent anticancer efficacy, especially towards malignant cancers.
    Keywords:  Cancer therapy; Cr small molecules; Cr(V)–Cr(III) transition system; Metallopharmaceuticals; ROS generation
  12. Zhongguo Yi Xue Ke Xue Yuan Xue Bao. 2021 Jun 30. 43(3): 366-370
      Objective To observe the effect of cryptotanshinone on the ferroptosis of human liver cancer HepG2 cells. Methods The viability of the HepG2 cells cultured in vitro was determined using the Cell Counting Kit-8(CCK-8),and the half maximal inhibitory concentration(IC50)was calculated.The cell morphology was observed using an inverted microscope.The reactive oxygen species(ROS)level was detected with the 2',7'-dichlorodihydrofluorescein diacetate(DCFH-DA)probe.The glutathione(GSH)assay kit was used to determine the GSH level.Western blot analysis was employed to detect the expression of cystine/glutamate antiporter system light chain(xCT)and glutathione peroxidase 4(GPX4),two marker proteins in ferroptosis.Additionally,the cell viability,ROS level,GSH level,and the expression levels of xCT and GPX4 were detected for the cells treated with the ferroptosis inhibitor ferrostain-1(Fer-1),the iron chelator deferoxamine(DFO),and the ROS scavenger N-acetylcysteine(NAC).Results Cryptotanshinone significantly inhibited the cell viability of HepG2 cells with an IC50 of 93.73 μmol/L,and caused the morphological changes and death of the cells.It could significantly induce ROS accumulation,reduce GSH level,and down-regulate the expression of xCT and GPX4 in HepG2 cells.Fer-1,DFO,and NAC can remedy the cryptotanshinone-caused decrease in the cell viability of HepG2 cells.Fer-1 could inhibit cryptotanshinone-induced ROS accumulation,restore GSH level,and recover the expression of xCT and GPX4. Conclusion Cryptotanshinone may increase the accumulation of ROS by inhibiting the expression of xCT and GPX4 to induce the ferroptosis of HepG2 cells.
    Keywords:  cell viability; cryptotanshinone; ferroptosis; liver cancer
  13. ACS Appl Mater Interfaces. 2021 Jul 07.
      The synergistic nanotheranostics of reactive oxygen species (ROS) augment or phototherapy has been a promising method within synergistic oncotherapy. However, it is still hindered by sophisticated design and fabrication, lack of a multimodal synergistic effect, and hypoxia-associated poor photodynamic therapy (PDT) efficacy. Herein, a kind of porous shuttle-shape platinum (IV) methylene blue (Mb) coordination polymer nanotheranostics-loaded 10-hydroxycamptothecin (CPT) is fabricated to address the abovementioned limitations. Our nanoreactors possess spatiotemporally controlled O2 self-supply, self-sufficient singlet oxygen (1O2), and outstanding photothermal effect. Once they are taken up by tumor cells, nanoreactors as a cascade catalyst can efficiently catalyze degradation of the endogenous hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) into O2 to alleviate tumor hypoxia. The production of O2 can ensure enhanced PDT. Subsequently, under both stimuli of external red light irradiation and internal lysosomal acidity, nanoreactors can achieve the on-demand release of CPT to augment in situ mitochondrial ROS and highly efficient tumor ablation via phototherapy. Moreover, under the guidance of near-infrared (NIR) fluorescent imaging, our nanoreactors exhibit strongly synergistic potency for treatment of hypoxic tumors while reducing damages against normal tissues and organs. Collectively, shuttle-shape platinum-coordinated nanoreactors with augmented ROS capacity and enhanced phototherapy efficiency can be regarded as a novel tumor theranostic agent and further promote the research of synergistic oncotherapy.
    Keywords:  O2 self-supply; ROS augment; hypoxic tumor; nanoreactors; phototherapy
  14. Anticancer Agents Med Chem. 2021 Jul 07.
      BACKGROUND: The lack of specificity, severe side effects, and development of drug resistance have largely limited the use of platinum-based compounds in cancer treatment. Therefore, copper complexes have emerged as potential alternatives to platinum-based compounds.OBJECTIVE: Ternary copper (II) complex incorporated with 1-10-phenanthroline and L-tyrosine was investigated for its anti-cancer effects in HT-29 colorectal cancer cells.
    METHODS: Cytotoxic effects of ternary copper (II) complex in HT-29 cells were evaluated using MTT assay, Real-Time Cell Analysis (RTCA), and lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) assay. Cell cycle analysis was performed using flow cytometry. Apoptosis induction was studied by Annexin V-FITC/propidium iodide (PI) staining and mitochondrial membrane potential analysis (JC-10 staining) using flow cytometry. Intracellular reactive oxygen species (ROS) were detected by DCFH-DA assay. The expression of proteins involved in the apoptotic signalling pathway (p53, caspases, and PARP-1) was evaluated by western blot analysis.
    RESULTS: Ternary copper (II) complex reduced the cell viability of HT-29 cells in a time- and dose-dependent manner, with IC50 of 2.4 ± 0.4 and 0.8 ± 0.04 µM at 24 and 48 hours, respectively. Cell cycle analysis demonstrated induction of S-phase cell cycle arrest. Morphological evaluation and Annexin V-FITC/PI flow cytometry analysis confirmed induction of apoptosis that was further supported by cleavage and activation of caspase-8, caspase-9, caspase-3, and PARP-1. Mutant p53 was also downregulated in a dose-dependent manner. No LDH release, mitochondrial membrane potential disruption, and ROS production were observed.
    CONCLUSION: Ternary copper (II) complex holds great potential to be developed for colorectal cancer treatment.
    Keywords:  Copper complex; apoptosis; caspase; cell cycle arrest; colorectal cancer; p53
  15. EMBO Mol Med. 2021 Jul 05. e13792
      Understanding how cancer cells resist ferroptosis is a significant problem that impacts ongoing efforts to stimulate ferroptosis as a therapeutic strategy. We reported that prominin2 is induced by ferroptotic stimuli and functions to resist ferroptotic death. Although this finding has significant implications for therapy, specific prominin2 inhibitors are not available. We rationalized that the mechanism by which prominin2 expression is induced by ferroptotic stress could be targeted, expanding the range of options to overcome ferroptosis resistance. Here, we show that that 4-hydroxynonenal (4HNE), a specific lipid metabolite formed from the products of lipid peroxidation stimulates PROM2 transcription by a mechanism that involves p38 MAP kinase-mediated activation of HSF1 and HSF1-dependent transcription of PROM2. HSF1 inhibitors sensitize a wide variety of resistant cancer cells to drugs that induce ferroptosis. Importantly, the combination of a ferroptosis-inducing drug and an HSF1 inhibitor causes the cytostasis of established tumors in mice, although neither treatment alone is effective. These data reveal a novel approach for the therapeutic induction of ferroptosis in cancer.
    Keywords:  cancer; ferroptosis; heat shock factor 1; prominin2; therapy
  16. Pharmacol Res. 2021 Jul 01. pii: S1043-6618(21)00332-7. [Epub ahead of print] 105748
      Pyroptosis, a type of programmed cell death (PCD), is characterized by cell swelling with bubbles, and the release of inflammatory cell cytokines. Cucurbitacin B (CuB), extracted from muskmelon pedicel, is a natural bioactive product that could effectively exert anti-tumor activities in lung cancer. However, the exact molecular mechanisms and the direct targets of CuB in non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) remain to be discovered. Here, we firstly found that CuB exerted an anti-tumor effect via pyroptosis in NSCLC cells and NSCLC mice models. Next, based on the molecular docking and cellular thermal shift assay (CETSA), we identified that CuB directly bound to Toll-like receptor 4 (TLR4) to activate the NLRP3 inflammasome, which further caused the separation of N- and C-terminals of Gasdermin D (GSDMD) to execute pyroptosis. Moreover, CuB enhanced the mitochondrial reactive oxygen species (ROS), mitochondrial membrane protein Tom20 accumulation, and cytosolic calcium (Ca2+), leading to pyroptosis in NSCLC cells. Silencing of TLR4 inhibited CuB-induced pyroptosis and increased the level of ROS and Ca2+ in A549 cells. In vivo study showed that CuB treatment suppressed lung tumor growth in mice via pyroptosis without dose-dependent manner, and CuB at 0.75mg/kg had a better anti-tumor effect compared to the Gefitinib group. Taken together, our findings revealed the mechanisms and targets of CuB triggering pyroptosis in NSCLC, thus supporting the notion of developing CuB as a promising therapeutic agent for NSCLC.
    Keywords:  Calcium; Cucurbitacin; Pyroptosis; ROS; TLR4
  17. Mol Cancer Ther. 2021 Jun 17. pii: molcanther.MCT-20-0962-A.2020. [Epub ahead of print]
      ONC212 is a fluorinated-imipridone with preclinical efficacy against pancreatic and other malignancies. Although mitochondrial protease ClpP was identified as an ONC212-binding target, the mechanism leading to cancer cell death is incompletely understood. We investigated mitochondrial dysfunction and metabolic rewiring triggered by ONC212 in pancreatic cancer, a deadly malignancy with an urgent need for novel therapeutics. We found ClpP is expressed in pancreatic cancer cells and is required for ONC212 cytotoxicity. ClpX, the regulatory binding-partner of ClpP, is suppressed upon ONC212 treatment. Immunoblotting and extracellular flux analysis showed ONC212 impairs oxidative phosphorylation (OXPHOS) with decrease in mitochondrial-derived ATP production. Although collapse of mitochondrial function is observed across ONC212-treated cell lines, only OXPHOS-dependent cells undergo apoptosis. Cells relying on glycolysis undergo growth-arrest and upregulate glucose catabolism to prevent ERK1/2 inhibition and apoptosis. Glucose restriction or combination with glycolytic inhibitor 2-deoxy-D-glucose synergize with ONC212 and promote apoptosis in vitro and in vivo. Thus, ONC212 is a novel mitocan targeting oxidative-metabolism in pancreatic cancer, leading to different cellular outcomes based on divergent metabolic programs.
  18. Sci Rep. 2021 Jul 07. 11(1): 14002
      Metformin increased cellular ROS levels in AsPC-1 pancreatic cancer cells, with minimal effect in HDF, human primary dermal fibroblasts. Metformin reduced cellular ATP levels in HDF, but not in AsPC-1 cells. Metformin increased AMPK, p-AMPK (Thr172), FOXO3a, p-FOXO3a (Ser413), and MnSOD levels in HDF, but not in AsPC-1 cells. p-AMPK and p-FOXO3a also translocated from the cytosol to the nucleus by metformin in HDF, but not in AsPC-1 cells. Transfection of si-FOXO3a in HDF increased ROS levels, while wt-FOXO3a-transfected AsPC-1 cells decreased ROS levels. Metformin combined with apigenin increased ROS levels dramatically and decreased cell viability in various cancer cells including AsPC-1 cells, with each drug used singly having a minimal effect. Metformin/apigenin combination synergistically decreased mitochondrial membrane potential in AsPC-1 cells but to a lesser extent in HDF cells. Metformin/apigenin combination in AsPC-1 cells increased DNA damage-, apoptosis-, autophagy- and necroptosis-related factors, but not in HDF cells. Oral administration with metformin/apigenin caused dramatic blocks tumor size in AsPC-1-xenografted nude mice. Our results suggest that metformin in cancer cells differentially regulates cellular ROS levels via AMPK-FOXO3a-MnSOD pathway and combination of metformin/apigenin exerts anticancer activity through DNA damage-induced apoptosis, autophagy and necroptosis by cancer cell-specific ROS amplification.
  19. Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2021 Jun 30. pii: S0006-291X(21)00985-2. [Epub ahead of print]569 10-16
      Cancer cells require oxygen and nutrients for growth, making angiogenesis one of the essential components of tumor growth. Gangliosides, constituting membrane lipid rafts, regulate intracellular signal transduction and are involved in the malignancy of cancer cells. While endothelial cells, as well as cancer cells, express vast amounts of gangliosides, the precise function of endothelial gangliosides in angiogenesis remains unclear. In this study, we focused on gangliosides of vascular endothelial cells and analyzed their functions on tumor angiogenesis. In human breast cancer, GM3 synthase was highly expressed in vascular endothelial cells as well as immune cells. Angiogenesis increased in GM3S-KO mice. In BAEC, RNA interference of GM3S showed increased cellular invasion and oxidative stress tolerance through activation of ERK. In the breast cancer model, GM3-KO mice showed an increase in tumor growth and angiogenesis. These results suggest that the endothelial ganglioside GM3 regulates tumor angiogenesis by suppressing cellular invasion and oxidative stress tolerance in endothelial cells.
    Keywords:  Angiogenesis; Endothelial cell; Ganglioside; Oxidative stress; Tumor
  20. Apoptosis. 2021 Jul 08.
      Cancer cells are disordered by nature and thus featured by higher internal redox level than healthy cells. Redox imbalance could trigger programmed cell death if exceeded a certain threshold, rendering therapeutic strategies relying on redox control a possible cancer management solution. Yet, various programmed cell death events have been consecutively discovered, complicating our understandings on their associations with redox imbalance and clinical implications especially therapeutic design. Thus, it is imperative to understand differences and similarities among programmed cell death events regarding their associations with redox imbalance for improved control over these events in malignant cells as well as appropriate design on therapeutic approaches relying on redox control. This review addresses these issues and concludes by bringing affront cold atmospheric plasma as an emerging redox controller with translational potential in clinics.
    Keywords:  Cancer therapeutics; Cold atmospheric plasma; Programmed cell death; Redox imbalance
  21. J Cancer. 2021 ;12(16): 4819-4829
      Most cancer mortality results from metastatic tumor cells and not the localized tumor. Overcoming anoikis is one of the most important steps for detached tumor cells to migrate and metastasize. However, the molecular mechanisms remain to be fully deciphered. Herein, our study revealed upregulation of vacuolar ATPase (V-ATPase) in cancer cells during ECM detachment plays a key role in anoikis evasion. V-ATPase is an enzyme complex that utilizes energy from ATP hydrolysis to maintain cellular homeostasis and had been reported to enhance cancer progression. In this study, V-ATPase inhibition sensitized human cervical cancer, breast cancer, and murine melanoma cells to anoikis via increased ROS production, accumulation of misfolded protein, and impaired pulmonary metastasis in vivo. Scavenging ROS restored anoikis resistance and clearance of misfolded protein accumulation in the tumor cells. Mechanistically, STAT3 upregulates V-ATPase expression while blockade of STAT3 activity repressed V-ATPase expression in these tumor cells as well as sensitized cells to anoikis, increased ROS production, and misfolded protein accumulation. Altogether, our data demonstrate an unreported role of STAT3 in mediating the upregulation of V-ATPase to promote anoikis resistance, thus provides an alternative option to target cancer metastasis.
    Keywords:  Anoikis; Metastasis; Misfolded protein accumulation; STAT3; V-ATPase
  22. ACS Appl Mater Interfaces. 2021 Jul 07.
      Sonocatalytic nanoagents (SCNs), a kind of sonosensitizers, could catalyze oxygen to generate abundant reactive oxygen species (ROS) under stimulations of noninvasive and deep-penetrating ultrasound (US), which is commonly used for sonodynamic therapy (SDT) of tumors such as malignant melanoma. However, poor bioavailability of most SCNs and fast quenching of extracellular-generating ROS from SDT limit further applications of SCNs in the SDT of tumors. Herein, we synthesized a new kind of TiO2-based SCN functionalized with the malignant melanoma cell membrane (B16F10M) and programmed cell death-ligand 1 antibody (aPD-L1) for homology and immune checkpoint dual-targeted and enhanced sonodynamic tumor therapy. Under US irradiation, the synthesized SCN can catalytically generate a large amount of 1O2. In vitro experiments validate that functionalized SCNs exhibit precise targeting effects, high tumor cell uptake, and intracellular sonocatalytic killing of the B16F10 cells by a large amount of localized ROS. Utilizing the melanoma animal model, the functionalized SCN displays visible long-term retention in the tumor area, which assists the homology and immune checkpoint synergistically dual-targeted and enhanced in vivo SDT of the tumor. We suggest that this highly bioavailable and dual-functionalized SCN may provide a promising strategy and nanoplatform for enhancing sonodynamic tumor therapies.
    Keywords:  homology and immune checkpoint dual-targeting; malignant melanoma; reactive oxygen species; sonocatalytic nanoagents; sonodynamic therapy
  23. Chem Commun (Camb). 2021 Jul 05.
      A chlorine e6 (Ce6) and curcumin (Cur) based self-delivery nanomedicine (CeCu) is prepared for chemotherapy sensitized photodynamic therapy (PDT). The chemotherapeutic agent of Cur could inhibit the TrxR activity to destroy the cellular ROS-defence system for enhanced PDT, which provides synergistic effects for tumor precision therapy in consideration of the unfavorable tumor microenvironments.
  24. J Nanosci Nanotechnol. 2021 Dec 01. 21(12): 5972-5978
      Metastatic lung cancer is the leading cause of death for cancer patients. Although many chemical drugs were developed for cancer treatment, metastatic cancer mortality did not decrease significantly. In this article, we designed an Au clusters (AuCs) modified by cyclic RGD peptides which well target the integrin of human lung carcinoma cells (A549). The RGD-AuCs could well induce A549 cells apoptosis, but have no cytotoxicity on the human bronchial epithelial cells (16HBE), which are normal cells support respiratory system. The AuCs could be internalized and localized in the lysosomes of A549 tumor cells and further release into cytoplasma. We found the ROS level was increased by AuCs, and such high ROS level finally leads to depolarization of mitochondria. Eventually, the AuCs stimulating mitochondria related apoptosis pathway to induce A549 tumor cells apoptosis. We deduce the gold clusters would be an effective therapeutic candidate to against metastatic lung tumor in the future studies.
  25. Oxid Med Cell Longev. 2021 ;2021 6696015
      Cabergoline (CAB) is the first choice for treatment of prolactinoma and the most common subtype of pituitary adenoma. However, drug resistance and lack of effectiveness in other pituitary tumor types remain clinical challenges to this treatment. Brusatol (BT) is known to inhibit cell growth and promote apoptosis in a variety of cancer cells. In our present studies, we investigate the effects of BT on pituitary tumor cell proliferation in vitro and in vivo. BT treatment resulted in an increase in Annexin V-expressing cells and promoted the expression of apoptosis-related proteins in rat and human pituitary tumor cells. Investigation of the mechanism underlying this effect revealed that BT increased the production of reactive oxygen species (ROS) and inhibited the phosphorylation of 4EBP1 and S6K1. Furthermore, treatment with a combination of BT and CAB resulted in greater antitumor effects than either treatment alone in nude mice and pituitary tumor cells. Collectively, our results suggest that the BT-induced ROS accumulation and inhibition of mTORC1 signaling pathway leads to inhibition of tumor growth. Combined use of CAB and BT may increase the clinical effectiveness of treatment for human pituitary adenomas.
  26. Anticancer Agents Med Chem. 2021 Mar 21.
      BACKGROUND: Lichens are a composite consortium of fungus and alga. The symbiotic organisms are naturally equipped with distinct characteristics as compared to constituting organisms separately. Lichens due to their peculiar anatomy and physiology, are the reservoir of more than 600 unique secondary metabolites, also known as 'lichen substances'. Since ancient times, many ethnic groups from various parts of the world had knowledge about the applications of lichens as major provenance of food/fodder, medicine, dyes, spices, perfumes, etc. Lichen substances have shown impressive antioxidant, antimicrobial, antiviral, antitumor, and anti-inflammatory activities under experimental conditions. Usnic acid, a well-known metabolite, found in several species of lichens, possesses potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activities. It also has significant anti-proliferative potential as revealed through testing in different cancer cell lines. Atranorin, Lecanoric acid, Norstictic acid, Lobaric acid, Stictic acid, Ramalin, Gyrophoric acid, Salazinic acid, Protolichesterinic, and Fumarprotocetraric acid are some of the other purified lichen metabolites with potent anti-cancer activities.OBJECTIVE: This study presents an overview of lichen derived extracts/compounds augmenting the anti-cancer (related) properties.
    METHOD: The review comprehends different studies (in vivo and in vitro) backing up the possibility of lichen extracts and metabolites towards their use as antioxidant, anti-proliferative, anti-inflammatory and EMT-inhibiting agents.
    RESULTS: The review focuses on anti-cancer and related properties of lichen extracts and metabolites that include their anti-oxidative, anti-inflammatory, anti-proliferative and pro-apoptotic, cancer stemness reduction, activities and, the potential of inhibition of cancer-associated Epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) that is responsible for multiple drug-resistance and metastasis of cancer cells in a large proportion of cases.
    CONCLUSION: Lichens can be the repertoire of a plethora of lichen metabolites with putative bioactive potential, which is needed to be explored in order to find out novel anti-cancer drugs.
    Keywords:  Lichen metabolites; anti-EMT; anti-cancer drug; anti-inflammatory; anti-oxidant; anti-proliferative
  27. Int J Biol Sci. 2021 ;17(9): 2252-2261
      Heme oxygenase 1 (HO-1), also known as heat shock protein 32 (HSP32), is a stress-inducible enzyme. In the past, it was believed to participate in maintaining cell homeostasis, reducing oxidative stress damage and exerting anti-apoptotic effects. When exposed to noxious stimulation, the expression of HO-1 in the body will increase, antagonizing these oxidative stresses and protecting our bodies. Recently, many studies showed that HO-1 was also highly-expressed in multiple gynecological cancers (such as ovarian cancer, cervical cancer and endometrial cancer), suggesting that it should be closely related to cell proliferation, metastasis, immune regulation and angiogenesis as an oncogene. This review summarizes the different effects of HO-1 under normal and diseased conditions with a brief discussion of its implications on the diagnosis and treatment of gynecological cancers, aiming to provide a new clue for prevention and treatment of diseases.
    Keywords:  Heme Oxygenase-1; cancer; metastasis; oxidative stress; proliferation