Triple negative breast cancer (TNBC) is a highly metastatic cancer among the breast cancer subgroups. A thorny issue for clinical therapy of TNBC is lack of an efficient targeted therapeutic strategy. We previously created a novel sesquiterpene lactone analog (named DETD-35) derived from plant deoxyelephantopin (DET) which exhibits potent effects against human TNBC MDA-MB-231 tumor growth in a xenograft mouse model. Here we studied the mechanisms of both DET and DETD-35 against MDA-MB-231 cells. DETD-35 (3-fold decreased in IC50) exhibited better anti-TNBC cell activity than DET as observed through induction of reactive oxygen species production (within 2 h treatment) and damage to the ER structures, resulting in ER-derived cytoplasmic vacuolation and ubiquitinated protein accumulation in the treated cells. Intriguingly, the effects of both compounds were blockaded by pretreatment with ROS scavengers, N-acetylcysteine and reduced glutathione, and protein synthesis inhibitor, cycloheximide. Further, knockdown of MEK upstream regulator RAF1 and autophagosomal marker LC3, and co-treatment with JNK or ERK1/2 inhibitor resulted in the most significant attenuation of DETD-35-induced morphological and molecular or biochemical changes in cancer cells, while the inhibitory effect of DET was not influenced by MAPK inhibitor treatment. Therefore, DETD-35 exerted both ER stress-mediated paraptosis and apoptosis, which may explain its superior activity to DET against TNBC cells. Although the chemotherapeutic drug paclitaxel induced vacuole-like structures in MDA-MB-231 cells, no paraptotic cell death features were detected. This study provides a strategy for combating TNBC through sesquiterpene lactone analogs by induction of oxidative and ER stresses that cause paraptosis-like cell death.
Shiau, J. Y., Nakagawa-Goto, K., Lee, K. H., & Shyur, L. F. (2017). Phytoagent deoxyelephantopin derivative inhibits triple negative breast cancer cell activity by inducing oxidative stress-mediated paraptosis-like cell death. Oncotarget, 8(34), 56942–56958. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.18183