DHMEQ, a novel NF-kappaB inhibitor, induces apoptosis and cell-cycle arrest in human hepatoma cells

Daisuke Nishimura, Hiroki Ishikawa, Kojiro Matsumoto, Hidetaka Shibata, Yasuhide Motoyoshi, Mariko Fukuta, Hiroshi Kawashimo, Takashi Goto, Naota Taura, Tatsuki Ichikawa, Keisuke Hamasaki, Kazuhiko Nakao, Kazuo Umezawa, Katsumi Eguchi
International Journal of Oncology 2006, 29 (3): 713-9
Several reports have indicated that nuclear factor-kappaB (NF-kappaB) is constitutively activated in a variety of cancer cells including hepatoma cells and plays a key role in their growth and survival. Dehydroxymethylepoxyquinomicin (DHMEQ) derived from the structure of an antibiotic epoxyquinomicin C is a novel NF-kappaB inhibitor. In the present study, we evaluated the effect of DHMEQ on the NF-kappaB activity in human hepatoma cells, Huh-7, HepG2 and Hep3B, and the anti-tumor effect of DHMEQ on these cells in vitro and in vivo. DHMEQ inhibited the steady-state transcriptional activity of NF-kappaB in all hepatoma cells. DHMEQ blocked the constitutive DNA-binding activity and TNF-alpha-mediated nuclear translocation of NF-kappaB in Huh-7 cells. DHMEQ (5-20 microg/ml) dose-dependently reduced the viable cell number of all hepatoma cells. DHMEQ (20 microg/ml) induced apoptosis in all hepatoma cells, especially in Hep3B cells, and cell-cycle arrest in Huh-7 and HepG2 cells. These effects were accompanied by downregulation of proteins involved in anti-apoptosis (Bcl-xL, XIAP or c-IAP2) and cell-cycle progression (cyclin D1), and induction of proteins involved in pro-apoptosis (Bax) and cell-cycle retardation (p21Waf1/Cip1), although the degree of changes by DHMEQ was different in each hepatoma cell type. Moreover, intraperitoneal administration of DHMEQ (8 mg/kg) significantly repressed the growth of Huh-7 tumor subcutaneously transplanted into BALB/c nu/nu athymic mice. Our results suggest that DHMEQ could qualify as a candidate for a new chemotherapeutic agent against human hepatoma.

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