The inhibition of cell proliferation and induction of apoptosis in pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma cells by verrucarin A, a macrocyclic trichothecene, is associated with the inhibition of Akt/NF-кB/mTOR prosurvival signaling

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International journal of oncology


Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDA) remains one of the most difficult to treat of all malignancies. Multimodality regimens provide only short-term symptomatic improvement with minor impact on survival, underscoring the urgent need for novel therapeutics and treatment strategies for PDA. Trichothecenes are powerful mycotoxins that inhibit protein synthesis and induce ribotoxic stress response in mammalian cells. Verrucarin A (VC-A) is a Type D macrocyclic mycotoxin which inhibited cell proliferation and induced apoptosis in breast cancer cells. However, the antitumor activity of VC-A for PDA cells has not been investigated. Here we show potent antitumor activity and the mechanism of action of VC-A in PDA cell lines. VC-A strongly inhibited the proliferation and arrested cells in the S phase of the cell cycle. The blocking of cell cycle progression by VC-A was associated with the inhibition of cell cycle regulatory proteins cyclin D1, cyclin E, cyclin-dependent kinases (cdks) cdk2, cdk4 and cdk inhibitor WAF1/21. VC-A induced apoptosis in PDA cells as indicated by the increased Annexin V FITC-binding, cleavage of poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase‑1 (PARP-1) and procaspases-3, -8 and -9. VC-A also induced mitochondrial depolarization and release of cytochrome c and it inhibited Bcl-2 family proteins that regulate apoptosis (Bcl-2, Bcl-xL, Bax and Bad). In addition, VC-A reduced the levels of inhibitors of apoptosis survivin and c-IAP-2. Finally, VC-A downregulated the expression of prosurvival phospho-Akt (p-Akt), nuclear factor κB (NF-κB) (p65) and mammalian target of rapamycin (p-mTOR) signaling proteins and their downstream mediators. Together, these results demonstrated strong antiproliferative and apoptosis-inducing activity of verrucarin A for PDA cells through cell cycle arrest and inhibition of the prosurvival (antiapoptotic) AKT/NF-κB/mTOR signaling.


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Apoptosis; Carcinoma, Pancreatic Ductal; Cell Cycle Proteins; Cell Line, Tumor; Cell Proliferation; Cell Survival; Gene Expression Regulation, Neoplastic; Humans; NF-kappa B; Pancreatic Neoplasms; Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-akt; Signal Transduction; TOR Serine-Threonine Kinases; Trichothecenes

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