bims-rehoca Biomed News
on Redox homeostasis in cancer
Issue of 2021‒09‒05
thirty papers selected by
Vittoria Raimondi
Veneto Institute of Oncology

  1. Nano Lett. 2021 Sep 02.
      Selective amplification of reactive oxygen species (ROS) generation in tumor cells has been recognized as an effective strategy for cancer therapy. However, an abnormal tumor metabolism, especially the mitochondrial glutaminolysis, could promote tumor cells to generate high levels of antioxidants (e.g., glutathione) to evade ROS-induced damage. Here, we developed a tumor-targeted nanoparticle (NP) platform for effective breast cancer therapy via combining inhibition of mitochondrial glutaminolysis and chemodynamic therapy (CDT). This NP platform is composed of bovine serum albumin (BSA), ferrocene, and purpurin. After surface decoration with a tumor-targeting aptamer and then intravenous administration, this NP platform could target tumor cells and release ferrocene to catalyze hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) into the hydroxyl radical (·OH) for CDT. More importantly, purpurin could inhibit mitochondrial glutaminolysis to concurrently prevent the nutrient supply for tumor cells and disrupt intracellular redox homeostasis for enhanced CDT, ultimately leading to the combinational inhibition of tumor growth.
    Keywords:  Reactive oxygen species; chemodynamic therapy; combination cancer therapy; glutaminolysis; nanoparticle
  2. Drug Metab Dispos. 2021 Aug 30. pii: DMD-AR-2021-000571. [Epub ahead of print]
      Drug resistance of cancer cells is associated with redox homeostasis. The mechanism of acquired resistance of cancer cells to antitumor drugs is not well understood. Our previous studies revealed that drug resistance and highly expressed P-glycoprotein(P-gp) of MCF-7 breast cancer cells was dependent on intracellular redox homeostasis and declined capacity for scavenging reactive oxygen species (ROS). Recently, we observed that, unlike non-tumorigenic cells MCF-10A, three tumorigenic breast cancer cells (MCF-7S, BT474, MDA-MB-231) reprogrammed their metabolism, highly expressed cystathionine-γ-lyase (CTH), and acquired a particular specialty to utilize methionine (Met) to synthesize glutathione (GSH) through the transsulfuration pathway. Interestingly, doxorubicin (adriamycin, ADR) further reprogrammed metabolism of MCF-7 cells sensitive to ADR (MCF-7S), induced it to be another MCF-7 cell line resistant to ADR (MCF-7R) with dramatically down-regulated CTH. The two MCF-7 cells showed distinctly different phenotypes in terms of intracellular GSH, ROS levels, expression and activity of P-gp, CTH and drug resistance. We showed that CTH modulation or the methionine supply brought about the interconversion between MCF-7S and MCF-7R. Methionine deprivation or CTH silencing induced a resistant MCF-7R and lowered paclitaxel activity, yet methionine supplementation or CTH overexpression reversed the above effects, induced a sensitive phenotype of MCF-7S and significantly increased the cytotoxicity of paclitaxel both in vitro and in vivo. IL-6/STAT3 initiated CTH expression and activity, and the effect on the resistant phenotype was exclusively dependent on CTH and ROS. This study suggests that the IL6/STAT3/CTH axis plays a key role in the transformation between sensitive and resistant MCF-7 cells. Significance Statement CTH plays a key role in transformation between the sensitive and resistant phenotypes of MCF-7 cells and is dependent on the IL-6/STAT3 signaling axis. Modulation of transsulfuration pathway on CTH or IL-6/STAT3, or methionine supplementation is beneficial to reverse the resistance of MCF-7 cells, which indicates a clinical translation potential.
    Keywords:  P glycoprotein (PGP); breast cancer; glutathione; multi-drug resistance; reactive oxygen species (ROS); redox regulation
  3. J Appl Toxicol. 2021 Aug 31.
      Propyl gallate (3,4,5-trihydroxybenzoic acid propyl ester, PG) has an anti-proliferative effect in various cells. In this study, Calu-6 and A549 lung cancer cells were used to examine the anti-proliferative effect of PG in relation to reactive oxygen species (ROS) and glutathione (GSH) levels. PG (100-1,600 μM) dose-dependently inhibited the proliferation of Calu-6 and A549 cells at 24 h, and PG at 800-1,600 μM strongly induced cell death in both cell lines. PG (800-1,600 μM) increased cellular metabolism in Calu-6 but not A549 cells at 4 h. PG either increased or decreased ROS levels, including O2 ˙- and ˙OH, depending on the incubation doses and times of 1 or 24 h. Even these effects differed between Calu-6 and A549 cell types. PG reduced the activity of superoxide dismutase (SOD) in Calu-6 cells, and it augmented the activity of catalase in A549 cells. PG dose-dependently increased the number of GSH depleted cells in both Calu-6 and A549 cells at 24 h. In addition, PG decreased GSH levels in both lung cancer cells at 1 h. Furthermore, diethyldithiocarbamate (DDC; an inhibitor of SOD) and 3-amino-1,2,4-triazole (AT; an inhibitor of catalase) differently affected cellular metabolism, ROS and GSH levels in PG-treated and PG-untreated Calu-6 and A549 cells at 1 h. In conclusion, PG dose-dependently decreased the proliferation of Calu-6 and A549 lung cancer cells, which was related to changes in ROS levels and the depletion of GSH.
    Keywords:  cell proliferation; glutathione; lung cancer; propyl gallate; reactive oxygen species
  4. Front Pharmacol. 2021 ;12 625946
      The present study shows the putative antiproliferative mechanism of action of the previously analytically characterized nudibranch extract (Dolabella auricularia, NB) and its different effects in colon cancer cells vs. nontumor colon cells. NB extract increased the accumulation of reactive oxygen species (ROS) and increased endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress via stimulation of the unfolded protein response. Stress scavengers, N-acetylcysteine (NAC) and 4-phenylbutyric acid (4-PBA), decreased the stress induced by NB. The results showed that NB extract increased ER stress through overproduction of ROS in superinvasive colon cancer cells, decreased their resistance threshold, and produced a nonreturn level of ER stress, causing DNA damage and cell cycle arrest, which prevented them from achieving hyperproliferative capacity and migrating to and invading other tissues. On the contrary, NB extract had a considerably lower effect on nontumor human colon cells, suggesting a selective effect related to stress balance homeostasis. In conclusion, our results confirm that the growth and malignancy of colon cancer cells can be decreased by marine compounds through the modification of one of the most potent resistance mechanisms present in tumor cells; this characteristic differentiates cancer cells from nontumor cells in terms of stress balance.
    Keywords:  antiproliferative activity; colon cancer; marine biotechnology and natural products; marine compounds; stress balance
  5. Small. 2021 Sep 04. e2102470
      Tumor cells adapt to excessive oxidative stress by actuating reactive oxygen species (ROS)-defensing system, leading to a resistance to oxidation therapy. In this work, self-delivery photodynamic synergists (designated as PhotoSyn) are developed for oxidative damage amplified tumor therapy. Specifically, PhotoSyn are fabricated by the self-assembly of chlorine e6 (Ce6) and TH588 through π-π stacking and hydrophobic interactions. Without additional carriers, nanoscale PhotoSyn possess an extremely high drug loading rate (up to 100%) and they are found to be fairly stable in aqueous phase with a uniform size distribution. Intravenously injected PhotoSyn prefer to accumulate at tumor sites for effective cellular uptake. More importantly, TH588-mediated MTH1 inhibition could destroy the ROS-defensing system of tumor cells by preventing the elimination of 8-oxo-2'-deoxyguanosine triphosphate (8-oxo-dG), thereby exacerbating the oxidative DNA damage induced by the photodynamic therapy (PDT) of Ce6 under light irradiation. As a consequence, PhotoSyn exhibit enhanced photo toxicity and a significant antitumor effect. This amplified oxidative damage strategy improves the PDT efficiency with a reduced side effect by increasing the lethality of ROS without generating superabundant ROS, which would provide a new insight for developing self-delivery nanoplatforms in photodynamic tumor therapy in clinic.
    Keywords:  MTH1 inhibition; nanoplatform; oxidative damage; photodynamic therapy; self-delivery
  6. Bioact Mater. 2022 Jan;7 112-125
      Aggregation-induced emission luminogens (AIEgens) exhibit efficient cytotoxic reactive oxygen species (ROS) generation capability and unique light-up features in the aggregated state, which have been well explored in image-guided photodynamic therapy (PDT). However, the limited penetration depth of light in tissue severely hinders AIEgens as a candidate for primary or adjunctive therapy for clinical applications. Coincidentally, microwaves (MWs) show a distinct advantage for deeper penetration depth in tissues than light. Herein, for the first time, we report AIEgen-mediated microwave dynamic therapy (MWDT) for cancer treatment. We found that two AIEgens (TPEPy-I and TPEPy-PF6) served as a new type of microwave (MW) sensitizers to produce ROS, including singlet oxygen (1O2), resulting in efficient destructions of cancer cells. The results of 3-(4,5-dimethylthiazol-2-yl)-2,5-diphenyltetrazolium bromide (MTT) and live/dead assays reveal that the two AIEgens when activated by MW irradiation can effectively kill cancer cells with average IC-50 values of 2.73 and 3.22 μM, respectively. Overall, the ability of the two AIEgens to be activated by MW not only overcomes the limitations of conventional PDT, but also helps to improve existing MW ablation therapy by reducing the MW dose required to achieve the same therapeutic outcome, thus reducing the occurrence of side-effects of MW radiation.
    Keywords:  AIEgens; Cancer treatment; Microwave ablation; Microwaves; Photodynamic therapy; Reactive oxygen species; Singlet oxygen
  7. Biol Trace Elem Res. 2021 Aug 28.
      Nanotechnology is a developing and revolutionary science that has been widely recommended for diagnosis and treatment of cancer. Among the various nanoparticles used in nanotechnology, gold nanoparticles (AuNPs) have attracted much attentions due to their promising anticancer properties. Despite the potential advantages of AuNPs, their apoptotic and anti-angiogenic effects have not yet been reported on human bladder cancer 5637 cells. This motivated us to evaluate (reactive oxygen species) ROS-mediated apoptosis in 5637 cells. For this task, inhibitory effect of AuNPs was investigated after 24-h exposure to different concentrations of AuNPs by MTT assay. Also, apoptosis level was assessed by ROS production, flow cytometry, and Hoechst 33,258 staining. Besides, mRNA expression of B-cell lymphoma protein 2 (Bcl-2), Bcl-2-associated X (Bax), vascular endothelial growth factor A (VEGFA) genes, and caspase-3,7 activity were determined by qRT-PCR and colorimetric assay, respectively. Moreover, migration rate was evaluated by wound healing assay. MTT results demonstrate that AuNPs can reduce 5637-cell viability in a dose-dependent manner, while fluorimetric assay data show significant increased ROS production in 25 and 50 µg/ml-treated cells. It is also observed that AuNPs lead to Bax overexpression and downregulation of Bcl-2 and VEGFA genes. In line with this, flow cytometry results show increased levels of apoptosis in 25 and 50 µg/ml AuNP-treated cells (p < 0.05). Similarly, Hoechst staining indicates a remarkable increase in cells with apoptotic morphology after treating with AuNPs. Overall, our findings show that AuNPs significantly provoke ROS production, induce apoptosis, and suppress cell migration in bladder cancer 5637 cells.
    Keywords:  Anticancer activity; Apoptosis; Bladder cancer; Gold nanoparticles
  8. Cancer Genomics Proteomics. 2021 Sep-Oct;18(5):18(5): 645-659
      BACKGROUND/AIM: Paclitaxel is used as a first-line and subsequent therapy for the treatment of various cancers. However, the function and mechanisms of action of paclitaxel in non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) remain unknown. In this study, the molecular mechanism underlying the anticancer activity of paclitaxel was investigated in vitro in a human NSCLC cell line carrying the EGFR exon 19 deletion (PC9).MATERIALS AND METHODS: PC9 cells were treated with paclitaxel and then evaluated with a cell viability assay, DAPI staining, Giemsa staining, apoptosis assay, reactive oxygen species (ROS) assay, terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase dUTP nick-end labeling assay and Western blotting.
    RESULTS: Paclitaxel markedly decreased the viability of PC9 cells and induced morphological signs of apoptosis. The apoptotic effects of paclitaxel were observed through caspase cascade activation, along with ROS generation and loss of mitochondrial membrane potential (MMP). Furthermore, paclitaxel induced ROS-mediated DNA damage that triggered the activation of the extrinsic pathway of apoptosis via the up-regulation of death receptor (DR5) and caspase-8 activation. In addition, we found that paclitaxel effectively suppressed the EGFR/PI3K/AKT/mTOR signaling pathway to impede PC9 cell growth. Paclitaxel induced cell cycle arrest at the G1 phase in response to DNA damage, in association with the suppression of CDC25A, Cdk2 and Cyclin E1 protein expression.
    CONCLUSION: Paclitaxel showed anticancer effects against NSCLC by activating extrinsic and intrinsic apoptotic pathways through enhancing ROS generation, inducing cell cycle arrest, and suppressing EGFR/PI3K/AKT/mTOR signaling pathway.
    Keywords:  EGFR; PC9 cell line; Paclitaxel; ROS; apoptosis; non-small-cell lung cancer
  9. Nat Commun. 2021 Sep 02. 12(1): 5243
      Peroxisome, a special cytoplasmic organelle, possesses one or more kinds of oxidases for hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) production and catalase for H2O2 degradation, which serves as an intracellular H2O2 regulator to degrade toxic peroxides to water. Inspired by this biochemical pathway, we demonstrate the reactive oxygen species (ROS) induced tumor therapy by integrating lactate oxidase (LOx) and catalase (CAT) into Fe3O4 nanoparticle/indocyanine green (ICG) co-loaded hybrid nanogels (designated as FIGs-LC). Based on the O2 redistribution and H2O2 activation by cascading LOx and CAT catalytic metabolic regulation, hydroxyl radical (·OH) and singlet oxygen (1O2) production can be modulated for glutathione (GSH)-activated chemodynamic therapy (CDT) and NIR-triggered photodynamic therapy (PDT), by manipulating the ratio of LOx and CAT to catalyze endogenous lactate to produce H2O2 and further cascade decomposing H2O2 into O2. The regulation reactions of FIGs-LC significantly elevate the intracellular ROS level and cause fatal damage to cancer cells inducing the effective inhibition of tumor growth. Such enzyme complex loaded hybrid nanogel present potential for biomedical ROS regulation, especially for the tumors with different redox state, size, and subcutaneous depth.
  10. J Cancer Res Clin Oncol. 2021 Sep 03.
      PURPOSE: The mechanisms underlying anticancer effects of electromagnetic fields are poorly understood. An alternating electric field-generating therapeutic device called Optune™ device has been approved for the treatment of glioblastoma (GBM). We have developed a new device that generates oscillating magnetic fields (OMF) by rapid rotation of strong permanent magnets in specially designed patterns of frequency and timing and have used it to treat an end-stage recurrent GBM patient under an expanded access/compassionate use treatment protocol. Here, we ask whether OMF causes selective cytotoxic effects in GBM and whether it is through generation of reactive oxygen species (ROS).METHODS: We stimulated patient derived GBM cells, lung cancer cells, normal human cortical neurons, astrocytes, and bronchial epithelial cells using OMF generators (oncoscillators) of our Oncomagnetic Device and compared the results to those obtained under unstimulated or sham-stimulated control conditions. Quantitative fluorescence microscopy was used to assess cell morphology, viability, and ROS production mechanisms.
    RESULTS: We find that OMF induces highly selective cell death of patient derived GBM cells associated with activation of caspase 3, while leaving normal tissue cells undamaged. The cytotoxic effect of OMF is also seen in pulmonary cancer cells. The underlying mechanism is a marked increase in ROS in the mitochondria, possibly in part through perturbation of the electron flow in the respiratory chain.
    CONCLUSION: Rotating magnetic fields produced by a new noninvasive device selectively kill cultured human glioblastoma and non-small cell lung cancer cells by raising intracellular reactive oxygen species, but not normal human tissue cells.
    Keywords:  Brain tumor; Cell culture; Noninvasive treatment; Oncomagnetic device; Reactive oxygen species
  11. Oncol Lett. 2021 Oct;22(4): 743
      Pioglitazone is an anti-diabetic agent used in the treatment of type 2 diabetes, which belongs to the thiazolidinediones (TZDs) group. TZDs target peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor γ (PPARγ), which functions as a transcription factor of the nuclear hormone receptor. Pioglitazone has antitumor effects in several cancer types and could be a tool for drug therapy in various cancer treatments. Nevertheless, the molecular basis for pioglitazone-induced anticancer effects in renal cancer (RC) has not yet been elucidated. Thus, the aim of the present study was to investigate the detailed signaling pathway underlying pioglitazone-induced apoptosis in Caki cells derived from human clear cell renal cell carcinoma. As a result, it was demonstrated by flow cytometry analysis and Annexin V-propidium iodide staining that pioglitazone treatment induced apoptotic cell death in a dose-dependent manner in Caki cells. The protein expression levels of cellular FLICE (FADD-like IL-1β-converting enzyme)-inhibitory protein (c-FLIP)(L) and Bcl-2, which were determined by western blotting, decreased after pioglitazone treatment in Caki cells. Flow cytometry and western blot analyses demonstrated that pioglitazone-mediated apoptosis was blocked following pretreatment with the pan-caspase inhibitor, z-VAD-fmk, indicating that pioglitazone-induced apoptosis was mediated via a caspase-dependent signaling pathway. However, the reactive oxygen species (ROS) scavenger, N-acetylcysteine (NAC), did not affect pioglitazone-mediated apoptosis and degradation of c-FLIP(L) and Bcl-2 protein. Of note, it was found by western blot analysis that Bcl-2 protein expression was downregulated by the decreased protein stability of Bcl-2 in pioglitazone-treated Caki cells. In conclusion, these findings indicated that pioglitazone-induced apoptosis is regulated through caspase-mediated degradation of FLIP(L) and reduction of Bcl-2 protein stability, suggesting that pioglitazone is a feasible apoptotic agent that could be used in the treatment of human RC.
    Keywords:  B cell lymphoma 2; apoptosis; cellular FADD-like IL-1β-converting enzyme-inhibitory protein; pioglitazone; renal cancer
  12. J Cell Mol Med. 2021 May 03.
      Combination therapies, using medicinal herbs, are broadly recommended to attenuate the chemotherapy adverse effects. Based on our previous findings considering the anti-leukaemic effects of ginger extract on acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (ALL) cells, the present study was aimed to investigate the anti-cancer role of this pharmaceutical plant on ALL mice models. Moreover, we worked towards identifying the most anti-leukaemic derivative of ginger and the mechanism through which it may exert its cytotoxic impact. In vivo experiments were performed using five groups of six C57BL/6 nude mice, and the anti-leukaemic activity of ginger extract alone or in combination with methotrexate (MTX) was examined. Results showed increased survival rate and reduced damages in mice brain and liver tissues. Subsequently, MTT assay demonstrated synergistic growth inhibitory effect of 6-shogaol (6Sh) and MTX on ALL cell lines and patients primary cells. Eventually, the molecular anti-neoplastic mechanism of 6Sh was evaluated using Bioinformatics. Flow cytometry illustrated 6Sh-mediated apoptosis in Nalm-6 cells confirmed by Western blotting and RT-PCR assays. Further analyses exhibited the generation of reactive oxygen species (ROS) through 6Sh. The current study revealed the in vivo novel anti-leukaemic role of ginger extract, promoted by MTX. Moreover, 6-shogaol was introduced as the major player of ginger cytotoxicity through inducing p53 activity and ROS generation.
    Keywords:  6-shogaol; acute lymphoblastic leukaemia; combination therapy; drug resistance; ginger extract
  13. Biol Pharm Bull. 2021 Sep 01.
      Ampelopsin, a flavonoid with a wide variety of biological activities, has been proposed to be a potent antitumor agent. However, the mechanism by which Ampelopsin shows anti-breast cancer activity remains unclear. Therefore, this study will explore the mechanism of Ampelopsin's anti-breast cancer activity by culturing MDA-MB-231 and MCF-7 breast cancer cells. CCK-8 method and plate cloning method were used to detect the proliferation inhibition of breast cancer cells. Fluorescence microscopy was used to detect mitochondrial membrane potential (MMP). DCFH-DA method was used to determine the content of intracellular reactive oxygen species (ROS). Hoechst 33258 staining was used to detect the apoptotic morphological changes. Transmission electron microscope was used to observe the mitochondrial structure. Western Blot was used to detect the protein expression of Bax and Bcl-2. The results showed that Ampelopsin could significantly inhibit the proliferation of breast cancer cells, and promote cells apoptosis. In addition, the occurrence of apoptosis in breast cancer cells was associated with mitochondrial dysfunction, including the loss of mitochondrial membrane potential, the production of large amounts of reactive oxygen species, and the up-regulation of Bax/Bcl-2 expression. In conclusion, Ampelopsin-induced mitochondria damage leads to loss of mitochondria membrane potential, overproduction of ROS and activation of Bax, increasing mitochondria membrane permeability and ultimately inducing breast cell apoptosis. These findings provided a new perspective on the role of Ampelopsin in breast cancer prevention and treatment.
    Keywords:  Ampelopsin; breast cancer; mitochondrial apoptosis; proliferation
  14. Nanoscale. 2021 Sep 07. 13(33): 14049-14066
      Sonodynamic therapy (SDT) is a highly promising approach for cancer therapy, but its efficacy is severely hampered by the low specificity of sonosensitizers and the unfavorable characteristics of the tumor microenvironment (TME), such as hypoxia and glutathione (GSH) overexpression. To solve these problems, in this work, we encapsulated IR780 and MnO2 in PLGA and linked Angiopep-2 (Ang) to synthesize a multifunctional nanozyme (Ang-IR780-MnO2-PLGA, AIMP) to enhance SDT. With Ang functionalization to facilitate blood-brain barrier (BBB) penetration and glioma targeting, and through the function of IR780, these nanoparticles (NPs) showed improved targeting of cancer cells, especially mitochondria, and spread deep into tumor centers. Upon low-intensity focused ultrasound (LIFU) irradiation, reactive oxygen species (ROS) were produced and induced tumor cell apoptosis. Combined with the specific mitochondria-targeting ability of IR780, the sonodynamic effects were amplified because mitochondria are sensitive to ROS. In addition, MnO2 exhibited enzyme-like activity, reacting with the high levels of hydrogen protons (H+), H2O2 and GSH in the TME to continuously produce oxygen and consume GSH, which further enhanced the effect of SDT. Moreover, Mn2+ can be released in response to TME stimulation and used as a magnetic resonance (MR) contrast agent. In addition, IR780 has photoacoustic (PA)/fluorescence (FL) imaging capabilities. Our results demonstrated that AIMP NPs subjected to LIFU triggering maximally enhanced the therapeutic effect of SDT by multiple mechanisms, including multiple targeting, deep penetration, oxygen supply in situ and GSH depletion, thereby significantly inhibiting tumor growth and distal metastasis without systemic toxicity. In summary, this multifunctional nanozyme provides a promising strategy for cancer diagnosis and treatment under the intelligent guidance of multimodal imaging (PA/FL/MR) and may be a safe clinical translational method.
  15. Biol Pharm Bull. 2021 ;44(9): 1239-1246
      Rhinacanthin-C is a natural bioactive naphthoquinone ester with potential chemotherapeutic value in cancer treatment. In this study, we investigated its apoptotic induction ability and the involved mechanisms through the mitogen-activated protein kinases (MAPK) and protein kinase B/glycogen synthase kinase-3β/nuclear factor erythroid 2-related factor 2 (Akt/GSK-3β/Nrf2) signaling pathways in doxorubicin-resistant breast cancer MCF-7 (MCF-7/DOX) cells. Our 3-(4,5-dimethylthiazol-2-yl)-2,5-diphenyltetrazolium bromide (MTT) assay showed that rhinacanthin-C (3-28 µM) significantly decreased the viability of MCF-7/DOX cells and potentiated hydrogen peroxide cytotoxicity. This naphthoquinone was able to increase intracellular reactive oxygen species (ROS), as measured by the 2',7'-dichlorofluorescein diacetate (DCFH-DA) assay. This compound increased the number of apoptotic cells by elevating the ratio of apoptotic checkpoint proteins Bax/Bcl-2 and by decreasing the expression of poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase (PARP) protein. Furthermore, Western blotting analyses showed that treatment with rhinacanthin-C (3-28 µM) for 24 h significantly decreased the expression levels of the phosphorylated forms of MAPK proteins (i.e., extracellular signal regulated protein kinase 1/2 (ERK1/2), c-Jun N-terminal kinases (JNK) and p38), Akt, GSK-3β and Nrf2 proteins in MCF-7/DOX cells. Inhibition of the Akt/GSK-3β/Nrf2 pathway led to a significant reduction in heme oxygenase-1 (HO-1) and reduced nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide phosphate (NADP)(H): quinone oxidoreductase 1 (NQO1) proteins. These findings suggested that rhinacanthin-C was able to induce apoptosis in MCF-7/DOX cells through increased ROS production and suppression of the cell survival systems mediated by the MAPKs and Akt/GSK-3β/Nrf2 signaling pathways.
    Keywords:  apoptosis; cellular detoxification system; doxorubicin-resistant cancer cell; rhinacanthin-C; signaling pathway
  16. Cancer Genomics Proteomics. 2021 Sep-Oct;18(5):18(5): 661-673
      BACKGROUND/AIM: Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) poses a great challenge for the treatment of cancer patients. It presents as a severe respiratory infection in aged individuals, including some lung cancer patients. COVID-19 may be linked to the progression of aggressive lung cancer. In addition, the side effects of chemotherapy, such as chemotherapy resistance and the acceleration of cellular senescence, can worsen COVID-19. Given this situation, we investigated the role of paclitaxel (a chemotherapy drug) in the cell proliferation, apoptosis, and cellular senescence of gefitinib-resistant non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) cells (PC9-MET) to clarify the underlying mechanisms.MATERIALS AND METHODS: PC9-MET cells were treated with paclitaxel for 72 h and then evaluated by a cell viability assay, DAPI staining, Giemsa staining, apoptosis assay, a reactive oxygen species (ROS) assay, SA-β-Gal staining, a terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase dUTP nick-end labeling assay and Western blotting.
    RESULTS: Paclitaxel significantly reduced the viability of PC9-MET cells and induced morphological signs of apoptosis. The apoptotic effects of paclitaxel were observed by increased levels of cleaved caspase-3 (Asp 175), cleaved caspase-9 (Asp 330) and cleaved PARP (Asp 214). In addition, paclitaxel increased ROS production, leading to DNA damage. Inhibition of ROS production by N-acetylcysteine attenuates paclitaxel-induced DNA damage. Importantly, paclitaxel eliminated cellular senescence, as observed by SA-β-Gal staining. Cellular senescence elimination was associated with p53/p21 and p16/pRb signaling inactivation.
    CONCLUSION: Paclitaxel may be a promising anticancer drug and offer a new therapeutic strategy for managing gefitinib-resistant NSCLC during the COVID-19 pandemic.
    Keywords:  COVID-19; PC9-MET; Paclitaxel; ROS; apoptosis; cellular senescence
  17. Nanoscale. 2021 Sep 02. 13(34): 14525-14537
      Radiotherapy (RT) is one of the main treatments for men with prostate cancer (PCa). To date, numerous sophisticated nano-formulations as radiosensitizers have been synthesized with inspiring therapeutic effects both in vitro and in vivo; however, almost all the attention has been paid on the enhanced dose deposition effect by secondary electrons of nanomaterials with high atomic numbers (Z); despite this, cell-cycle arrest, DNA damage, and also reactive oxygen species (ROS) production are critical working mechanisms that account for radiosensitization. Herein, an 'all-purpose' nanostrategy based on dose deposition enhancement, cell cycle arrest, and ROS production as prostate cancer radiosensitizer for potential clinical translation was proposed. The rather simple structure of docetaxel-loaded Au nanoparticles (NPs) with prostate specific membrane antigen (PSMA) ligand conjugation have been successfully synthesized. Enhanced cellular uptake achieved via the selective internalization of the NPs by PCa cells with positive PSMA expression could guarantee enhanced dose deposition. Moreover, the as-synthesized nanosystem could effectively arrest the cell cycle at G2/M phases, which would reduce the ability of DNA damage repair for more irradiation sensitive of the PCa cells. Moreover, the G2/M phase arrest would further promote cascade retention and the enrichment of NPs within the cells. Furthermore, ROS generation and double strand breaks greatly promoted by NPs under irradiation (IR) could also provide an underlying basis for effective radiosensitizers. In vitro and in vivo investigations confirmed the as-synthesized NPs as an effective nano-radiosensitizer with ideal safety. More importantly, all moieties within the present nanosystem have been approved by FDA for the purpose of PCa treatment, thus making it highly attractive for clinical translation.
  18. J Cancer. 2021 ;12(19): 5693-5711
      Gliomas are the most aggressive neoplasms that affect the central nervous system, being glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) the most malignant. The resistance of GBM to therapies is attributed to its high rate of cell proliferation, angiogenesis, invasion, and resistance to apoptosis; thus, finding alternative therapeutic approaches is vital. In this work, the anti-proliferative, pro-apoptotic, and anti-invasive effect of the copper coordination compound Casiopeina III-La (Cas III-La) on human U373 MG cells was determined in vitro and in vivo. Our results indicate that Cas III-La exerts an anti-proliferative effect, promoting apoptotic cell death and inactivating the invasive process by generating reactive oxygen species (ROS), inactivating GSK3β, activating JNK and ERK, and promoting the nuclear accumulation of β-catenin. The inhibition of ROS generation by N-acetyl-l-cysteine not only recovered cell migration and viability, but also reduced β-catenin accumulation and JNK and ERK activation. Additionally, Cas III-La significantly reduced tumor volume, cell proliferation and mitotic indices, and increased the apoptotic index in mice xenotransplanted with U373 glioma cells. Thus, Cas III-La is a promising agent to treat GBM.
    Keywords:  Cas III-La; GSK3β; apoptosis; glioma cells; reactive oxygen species; β-catenin
  19. J Phys Chem A. 2021 Aug 30.
      Reactive oxygen species (ROS) in biological systems are formed through a variety of mechanisms. These species are very reactive and have been associated with many diseases, including cancer and cardiovascular disease. One way of removing ROS from the body is through the use of radical scavengers, which are compounds capable of giving up an electron to neutralize the ROS yet form a stable radical species themselves. A common radical scavenger is ascorbic acid, also known as vitamin C. At physiological pH, ascorbic acid is predominately present as the ascorbate anion, C6H7O6-. The ascorbate anion, as well as the dianion (C6H6O62-), is an effective antioxidant due to its ability to donate an electron from a lone pair generated by deprotonation. An electrospray ionization source was added to our pulsed anion photoelectron spectrometer to study ascorbate anions and deprotonated ascorbate dianions via photoelectron spectroscopy. The antioxidant behavior of the ascorbate anion and the deprotonated ascorbate dianion was confirmed based on the experimental vertical detachment energy (VDE), and, therefore, the ionization energy of the anions, 3.85 and 2.68 eV, respectively.
  20. ACS Nano. 2021 Sep 03.
      Recent advances in supramolecular chemistry research have led to the development of artificial chemical systems that can form self-assembled structures that imitate proteins involved in the regulation of cellular function. However, intracellular polymerization systems that operate inside living cells have been seldom reported. In this study, we developed an intramitochondrial polymerization-induced self-assembly system for regulating the cellular fate of cancer cells. It showed that polymeric disulfide formation inside cells occurred due to the high reactive oxygen species (ROS) concentration of cancer mitochondria. This polymerization barely occurs elsewhere in the cell owing to the reductive intracellular environment. The polymerization of the thiol-containing monomers further increases the ROS level inside the mitochondria, thereby autocatalyzing the polymerization process and creating fibrous polymeric structures. This process induces dysfunction of the mitochondria, which in turn activates cell necroptosis. Thus, this in situ polymerization system shows great potential for cancer treatment, including that of drug-resistant cancers.
    Keywords:  cancer; disulfide bond; intramitochondrial polymerization; polymerization induced self-assembly; reactive oxygen species
  21. Acta Pharmacol Sin. 2021 Aug 30.
      Helichrysetin (HEL), a chalcone isolated from Alpinia katsumadai Hayata, has an antitumor activity in human lung and cervical cancers. However, the inhibitory effect and underlying mechanism of HEL in gastric cancer have not been elucidated. Here, HEL significantly inhibited the growth of gastric cancer MGC803 cells in vitro and in vivo. HEL decreased expression and transcriptional regulatory activity of c-Myc and mRNA expression of c-Myc target genes. HEL enhanced mitochondrial oxidative phosphorylation (OXPHOS) and reduced glycolysis as evidenced by increased mitochondrial adenosine triphosphate (ATP) production and excessive reactive oxygen species (ROS) accumulation, and decreased the pPDHA1/PDHA1 ratio and Glyco-ATP production. Pyruvate enhanced OXPHOS after HEL treatment. c-Myc overexpression abolished HEL-induced inhibition of cell viability, glycolysis, and protein expression of PDHK1 and LDHA. PDHK1 overexpression also counteracted inhibitory effect of HEL on cell viability. Conversely, c-Myc siRNA decreased cell viability, glycolysis, and PDHK1 expression. NAC rescued the decrease in viability of HEL-treated cells. Additionally, HEL inhibited the overactivated mTOR/p70S6K pathway in vitro and in vivo. HEL-induced cell viability inhibition was counteracted by an mTOR agonist. mTOR inhibitor also decreased cell viability. Similar results were obtained in SGC7901 cells. HEL repressed lactate production and efflux in MGC803 cells. These results revealed that HEL inhibits gastric cancer growth by targeting mTOR/p70S6K/c-Myc/PDHK1-mediated energy metabolism reprogramming in cancer cells. Therefore, HEL may be a potential agent for gastric cancer treatment by modulating cancer energy metabolism reprogramming.
    Keywords:  PDHK1; c-Myc; energy metabolism reprogramming; gastric cancer; helichrysetin
  22. J Biol Inorg Chem. 2021 Aug 30.
      Two new cyclometalated Ru(II)-β-carboline complexes, [Ru(dmb)2(Cl-Ph-βC)](PF6) (dmb = 4,4'-dimethyl-2,2'-bipyridine; Cl-Ph-βC = Cl-phenyl-9H-pyrido[3,4-b]indole; RuβC-3) and [Ru(bpy)2(Cl-Ph-βC)](PF6) (bpy = 2,2'-bipyridine; RuβC-4) were synthesized and characterized. The Ru(II) complexes display high cytotoxicity against HeLa cells, the stabilized human cervical cancer cell, with IC50 values of 3.2 ± 0.4 μM (RuβC-3) and 4.1 ± 0.6 μM (RuβC-4), which were considerably lower than that of non-cyclometalated Ru(II)-β-carboline complex [Ru(bpy)2(1-Py-βC)] (PF6)2 (61.2 ± 3.9 μM) by 19- and 15-folds, respectively. The mechanism studies indicated that both Ru(II) complexes could significantly inhibit HeLa cell migration and invasion, and effectively induce G0/G1 cell cycle arrest. The new Ru(II) complexes could also trigger apoptosis through activating caspase-3 and poly (ADP-ribose) polymerase (PARP), increasing the Bax/Bcl-2 ratio, enhancing reactive oxygen species (ROS) generation, decreasing mitochondrial membrane potential (MMP), and inducing cytochrome c release from mitochondria. Further research revealed that RuβC-3 could deactivate the ERK/Akt signaling pathway thus inhibiting HeLa cell invasion and migration, and inducing apoptosis. In addition, RuβC-3-induced apoptosis in HeLa cells was closely associated with the increase of intracellular ROS levels, which may act as upstream factors to regulate ERK and Akt pathways. More importantly, RuβC-3 exhibited low toxicity on both normal BEAS-2B cells in vitro and zebrafish embryos in vivo. Consequently, the developed Ru(II) complexes have great potential on developing novel low-toxic anticancer drugs.
    Keywords:  Apoptosis; Cyclometalated Ru(II) complexes; ERK/Akt; ROS; β-Carboline alkaloids
  23. ACS Appl Mater Interfaces. 2021 Aug 29.
      Porphyrin-based nanozymes (Porzymes) have shown promising application potential to fight against tumors using catalytically generated reactive oxygen species from the excessively produced H2O2 in the tumor microenvironment. However, the low coordination porphyrin (CP) loading ratio, difficult controllable nanostructure, low bioavailability, and low biocatalytic activities of current established Porzymes have severely limited their antitumor applications. Here, a novel malignant melanoma cell membrane-coated Pd-based CP nanoplatform (Trojan Porzymes) has been synthesized for biocatalytic and homologous tumor therapies. The Trojan Porzymes exhibit a high CP loading ratio, uniform nanoscale size, single-atom nanostructure, homologous targeted ability, and high-efficiency photo/sono-augmented biocatalytic activities. The enzyme-like biocatalytic experiments display that the Trojan Porzymes can generate abundant •OH via chemodynamic path and 1O2 via visible light or ultrasound excitation. Then we demonstrate that the Trojan Porzymes show homologous targeting ability to tumor cells and can achieve efficient accumulation and long-term retention in cancer tissues. Our in vivo data further disclose that the photo/sono-assisted chemodynamic therapies can significantly augment the treatment efficiency of malignant melanoma. We believe that our work will afford a new biocatalytic and homologous strategy for future clinical malignant melanoma treatments, which may inspire and guide more future studies to develop individualized biomedicine in precise tumor therapies.
    Keywords:  biocatalytic and homologous nanoagents; biocatalytic tumor therapies; malignant melanoma; porphyrin-based nanozymes; reactive oxygen species
  24. Biomed Opt Express. 2021 Jul 01. 12(7): 3902-3916
      Photobiomodulation therapy (PBMT) uses light to stimulate cells. The molecular basis of the effects of PBMT is being unveiled, but it is stated that the cytochrome-c oxidase enzyme in mitochondria, a photon acceptor of PBMT, contributes to an increase in ATP production and modulates the reduction and oxidation of electron carriers NADH and FAD. Since its effects are not fully understood, PBMT is not used on tumors. Thus, it is interesting to investigate if its effects correlate to mitochondrial metabolism and if so, how it could be linked to the optical redox ratio (ORR), defined as the ratio of FAD/(NADH + FAD) fluorescences. To that end, fibroblasts (HDFn cell line) and oral squamous cell carcinoma (SCC-25 cell line) were irradiated with a light source of 780 nm and a total dose of 5 J/cm2, and imaged by optical microscopy. PBMT down-regulated the SCC-25 ORR by 10%. Furthermore, PBMT led to an increase in ROS and ATP production in carcinoma cells after 4 h, while fibroblasts only had a modest ATP increase 6 h after irradiation. Cell lines did not show distinct cell cycle profiles, as both had an increase in G2/M cells. This study indicates that PBMT decreases the redox state of oral cancer by possibly increasing glycolysis and affects normal and tumor cells through distinct pathways. To our knowledge, this is the first study that investigated the effects of PBMT on mitochondrial metabolism from the initiation of the cascade to DNA replication. This is an essential step in the investigation of the mechanism of action of PBMT in an effort to avoid misinterpretations of a variety of combined protocols.
  25. Cancer Sci. 2021 Aug 29.
      Although the inhibition of acid ceramidase (AC) is known to induce antitumor effects in various cancers, there are few reports in pancreatic cancer, and the underlying mechanisms remain unclear. Moreover, there is currently no safe administration method of AC inhibitor. Here the effects of gene therapy using small interfering RNA (siRNA) and short hairpin RNA (shRNA) for AC inhibition with its mechanisms for pancreatic cancer were investigated. The inhibition of AC by siRNA and shRNA using an adeno-associated virus 8 (AAV8) vector had antiproliferative effects by inducing apoptosis in pancreatic cancer cells and xenograft mouse model. AC inhibition elicits mitochondrial dysfunction, reactive oxygen species accumulation, and manganese superoxide dismutase suppression, resulting in apoptosis of pancreatic cancer cells accompanied by ceramide accumulation. These results elucidated the mechanisms underlying the antitumor effect of AC inhibition in pancreatic cancer cells and suggest the potential of the AAV8 vector to inhibit AC as a therapeutic strategy.
    Keywords:  Acid ceramidase; Adeno-associated virus; Mitochondrial dysfunction; Oxidative stress; Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma
  26. Mol Biol Rep. 2021 Sep 03.
      BACKGROUND: Britannin, a Sesquiterpene Lactone isolated from Inula aucheriana, has recently gained attraction in the therapeutic fields due to its anti-tumor properties. This study was designed to evaluate the effect of this agent on Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL) cell lines, either as a monotherapy or in combination with Vincristine (VCR).METHODS AND RESULTS: To determine the anti-leukemic effects of Britannin on ALL-derived cell lines and suggest a mechanism of action for the agent, we used MTT assay, Annexin-V/PI staining, ROS assay, and real-time PCR analysis. Moreover, by using a combination index (CI), we evaluated the synergistic effect of Britannin on Vincristine. We found that unlike normal Peripheral Blood Mononuclear Cells (PBMCs) and L929 cells, Britannin reduced the viability of NALM-6, REH, and JURKAT cells. Among tested cells, NALM-6 cells had the highest sensitivity to Britannin, and this agent was able to induce p21/p27-mediated G1 cell cycle arrest and Reactive Oxygen Specious (ROS)-mediated apoptotic cell death in this cell line. When NALM-6 cells were treated with Nacetyl-L-Cysteine (NAC), a scavenger of ROS, Britannin could induce neither apoptosis nor reduce the survival of the cells suggesting that the cytotoxic effect of Britannin is induced through ROS-dependent manner. Moreover, we found that a low dose of Britannin enhanced the effect of Vincristine in NALM-6 cells by inducing apoptotic cell death via altering the expression of apoptotic-related genes.
    CONCLUSIONS: Overall, our results proposed a mechanism for the cytotoxic effect of Britannin, either as a single agent or in combination with Vincristine, in NALM-6 cells.
    Keywords:  Acute lymphoblastic leukemia; Britannin; NALM-6 cells; ROS; Vincristine
  27. Chin J Physiol. 2021 Jul-Aug;64(4):64(4): 202-209
      Gamma-linolenic acid (GLA), a natural fatty acid obtained from oils of various vegetables and seeds, has been demonstrated as an anticancer agent. In this work, we investigated the anticancer effects of GLA on breast cancer BT-474 cells. GLA at 30 μM, a concentration reportedly within the range of circulating concentrations in clinical studies, caused apoptotic cell death. GLA caused an elevation in mitochondrial Ca2+ level and a decrease in mitochondrial membrane potential. GLA treatment depleted cyclopiazonic acid (CPA)-sensitive Ca2+ store and triggered substantial Ca2+ influx. Intracellular Ca2+ release triggered by GLA was suppressed by 3 μM xestospongin C (XeC, IP3 receptor-channel blocker) and 100 μM ryanodine (ryanodine receptor-channel blocker), suggesting that the Ca2+ release was via IP3 receptor-channel and ryanodine receptor-channel. Increased expressions of p-eIF2α and CHOP were observed in GLA-treated cells, suggesting GLA-treated cells had increased expressions of p-eIF2α and CHOP, which suggest endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress. In addition, GLA elicited increased production of reactive oxygen species. Taken together, our results suggest a basal level of GLA induced apoptotic cell death by causing Ca2+ overload, mitochondrial dysfunction, Ca2+ store depletion, ER stress, and oxidative stress. This is the first report to show that GLA caused Ca2+ store depletion and ER stress. GLA-induced Ca2+ store depletion resulted from opening of IP3 receptor-channel and ryanodine receptor-channel.
    Keywords:  Apoptosis; BT-474 cells; Ca2+overload; breast cancer; endoplasmic reticulum stress; gamma-linolenic acid; oxidative stress
  28. J Cell Mol Med. 2021 Aug 31.
      Piperine (PIP), the main active ingredient in pepper, belongs to the cinnamamide alkaloid. PIP has been found to have functions, including anti-oxidation, immune regulation, anti-tumour and promotion of drug metabolism. The present study was mainly designed to reveal the anti-tumour effect of PIP against gastric cancer and the relevant mechanism. In brief, the undifferentiated human gastric cancer cell HGC-27 was used, which was treated with different concentrations of PIP. As a result, PIP could inhibit proliferation and induce apoptosis of HGC-27 cells in a dose-dependent manner. The mechanism of PIP was associated with ROS increase and mitochondrial damage, simultaneously, the expression of key proteins of apoptosis was affected, including Bcl-2, Bax, Cyt-c, Caspase-9 and Caspase-3. Pre-treatment of ROS scavenger NAC HGC-27 cells could significantly reduce PIP-induced apoptosis and inhibit the activation of apoptotic signals. Consistently, PIP could induce ROS to increase and activate apoptotic signals in the animal model. Therefore, the present study showed that PIP can induce the generation of ROS, thereby promoting the activation of mitochondrial apoptotic pathway and exerting anti-tumour effects.
    Keywords:  ROS; apoptosis; gastric cancer; mitochondria; piperine
  29. Cell Oncol (Dordr). 2021 Aug 30.
      PURPOSE: Chemotherapy based on cisplatin (CDDP) has been established as the treatment of choice for head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC). Malignant tumors respond to microenvironmental alterations through a dynamic balance between mitochondrial fission and fusion. HNSCCs are known to exhibit hypoxic conditions, yet the respective effects and underlying mechanisms of hypoxia on chemosensitivity and mitochondrial dynamics remain to be resolved.METHODS: The effect of hypoxia on the chemosensitivity of HNCC cells was determined by flow cytometry. Mitochondrial fission factor (Mff) expression was assessed by RT-PCR and Western blotting in hypoxic HNSCC cells, and further verified in primary CDDP-sensitive and CDDP-resistant HSNCC samples. The biological function of Mff was evaluated by loss of function and gain of function analyses, both in vitro and in vivo.
    RESULTS: We found that hypoxia promoted mitochondrial fission and CDDP sensitivity in HNSCC cells. Importantly, Mff was found to be correlated with chemosensitivity in primary clinical samples under hypoxic conditions. Hypoxia-inducible factor 1α (HIF-1α) was found to markedly increase Mff transcription and to directly bind to Mff. Hypoxia enhanced the release of reactive oxygen species (ROS) and upregulated the expression of Mff via HIF-1α in HNSCC cells. ROS depletion in HNSCC cells attenuated HIF-1α expression, Mff expression and mitochondrial fission. Moreover, Mff knockdown led to suppression of hypoxia-induced mitochondrial fission and to decreased CDDP chemosensitivity in vivo and in vitro.
    CONCLUSIONS: Our findings indicate that hypoxia-induced release of ROS can promote mitochondrial fission and CDDP chemosensitivity via HIF1α/Mff regulation in HNSCC cells, indicating that Mff may serve as a biomarker to predict neoadjuvant chemosensitivity in HNSCC patients and as a target for overcoming chemoresistance.
    Keywords:  Cisplatin sensitivity; Head and neck squamous cell carcinoma; Hypoxia; Mitochondrial fission; ROS
  30. J Pharm Pharmacol. 2021 Sep 01. pii: rgab122. [Epub ahead of print]
      OBJECTIVES: Cancer monotherapy is associated with various limitations; therefore, combination chemotherapy is widely explored for optimum drug efficacy. In this study, 4-(N-Phenyl-N'-substituted benzenesulfonyl)-6-(4-hydroxyphenyl) quinoline-based mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) inhibitor (IIIM-4Q) was investigated in combination with tocopherol succinate (TOS), and the mechanism of cytotoxicity was elucidated.METHODS: The cytotoxic potential of IIIM-4Q and TOS was evaluated in five cell lines. Further, to understand the mechanism of cytotoxicity of IIIM-4Q, TOS and their combination, various studies including morphological analysis using scanning electron microscopy and 6-diamidino-2-phenylindole (DAPI) staining, estimation of reactive oxygen species (ROS) level, measurement of mitochondrial membrane potential (MMP), in-vitro cell migration assay, Western blotting and staining with acridine orange (AO) for autophagy detection were performed.
    KEY FINDINGS: Investigated combination was synergistic in nature and exhibited greater oxidative stress and mitochondrial dysfunction in pancreatic cancer cells. The migration potential of MIA PaCa-2 cells was significantly mitigated under the influence of this combination, and morphological changes such as chromatin condensation and nuclear blebbing were observed. Also, poly (adenosine diphosphate-ribose) polymerase cleavage and caspase-3 activation were observed in IIIM-4Q and TOS combination-treated cells.
    CONCLUSIONS: The investigated combination synergistically inhibited proliferation of MIA PaCa-2 cells through simultaneous induction of autophagy followed by apoptosis, and this combination demonstrated potential for further translational studies.
    Keywords:  anti-oxidant; apoptosis; autophagy; drug combination; tocopherol succinate