A novel prodrug of the green tea polyphenol (-)-epigallocatechin-3-gallate as a potential anticancer agent

Kristin R Landis-Piwowar, Congde Huo, Di Chen, Vesna Milacic, Guoqing Shi, Tak Hang Chan, Q Ping Dou
Cancer Research 2007 May 1, 67 (9): 4303-10
The most abundant and biologically active green tea catechin, (-)-epigallocatechin-3-gallate or (-)-EGCG, has been shown to act as a proteasome inhibitor and tumor cell death inducer. However, (-)-EGCG is unstable under physiologic conditions and has poor bioavailability. Previously, in an attempt to increase the stability of (-)-EGCG, we introduced peracetate protections to its reactive hydroxyl groups and showed that this peracetate-protected (-)-EGCG [Pro-EGCG (1); formerly named compound 1] could be converted into (-)-EGCG under cell-free conditions. In the current study, we provide evidence that when cultured human breast cancer MDA-MB-231 cells were treated with Pro-EGCG (1), (-)-EGCG was not only converted but also accumulated, accompanied by enhanced levels of proteasome inhibition, growth suppression, and apoptosis induction, compared with cells treated with natural (-)-EGCG. To investigate the potential use of Pro-EGCG (1) as a novel prodrug that converts to a cellular proteasome inhibitor and anticancer agent in vivo, MDA-MB-231 tumors were induced in nude mice, followed by treatment with Pro-EGCG (1) or (-)-EGCG for 31 days. Results of this in vivo study showed a significant inhibition of breast tumor growth by Pro-EGCG (1), compared with (-)-EGCG, associated with increased proteasome inhibition and apoptosis induction in tumor tissues. In conclusion, we have shown that Pro-EGCG (1) increases the bioavailability, stability, and proteasome-inhibitory and anticancer activities of (-)-EGCG in human breast cancer cells and tumors, suggesting its potential use for cancer prevention and treatment.

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