Synthetic peracetate tea polyphenols as potent proteasome inhibitors and apoptosis inducers in human cancer cells

Deborah Kuhn, Wai Har Lam, Aslamuzzaman Kazi, Kenyon G Daniel, Shuojing Song, Larry M C Chow, Tak Hang Chan, Q Ping Dou
Frontiers in Bioscience: a Journal and Virtual Library 2005, 10: 1010-23
It has been suggested that proteasome activity is essential for tumor cell proliferation and drug resistance development. We have previously shown that natural and synthetic ester bond-containing tea polyphenols are selective inhibitors of the chymotrypsin-like activity of the proteasome. The most abundant catechin in green tea is (-)-epigallocatechin-3-gallate [(-)-EGCG], which has been found by many laboratories to exhibit the most potent anticancer activity. We have reported that (-)-EGCG is also the most effective proteasome inhibitor among all the natural green tea catechins tested. Unfortunately, (-)-EGCG is very unstable in neutral and alkaline conditions. In an attempt to increase the stability and thus the efficacy, we synthesized several (-)-EGCG analogs with acetyl protected -OH groups as prodrugs. Here we report, for the first time, that these acetylated synthetic tea analogs are much more potent than natural (-)-EGCG in inhibiting the proteasome in cultured tumor cells. Consistently, these protected analogs showed much higher potency than (-)-EGCG to inhibit proliferation and transforming activity and to induce apoptosis in human leukemic, prostate, breast, and simian virus 40-transformed cells. Additionally, these protected analogs had greatly reduced effects on human normal and non-transformed cells. Therefore, these peracetate protected tea polyphenols are more efficacious than (-)-EGCG and possess great potential to be developed into novel anticancer drugs. Identification of the cytosolic metabolite(s) of peracetate-protected polyphenols in cultured tumor cells and examination of their in vivo tumor growth-inhibitory activity are currently underway in our laboratory.

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