Combination treatment with highly bioavailable curcumin and NQO1 inhibitor exhibits potent antitumor effects on esophageal squamous cell carcinoma
Esophageal squamous cell carcinoma (ESCC) is one of the most intractable cancers, so the development of novel therapeutics has been required to improve patient outcomes. Curcumin, a polyphenol from Curcuma longa, exhibits various health benefits including antitumor effects, but its clinical utility is limited because of low bioavailability. Theracurmin (THC) is a highly bioavailable curcumin dispersed with colloidal submicron particles.
Broccoli sprout beverage is safe for thyroid hormonal and autoimmune status: Results of a 12-week randomized trial
Sulforaphane is a redox-active natural product present in cruciferous vegetables like broccoli. Broccoli sprout-derived products are promising agents for the prevention of oxidative stress-related diseases, but some have long been suspected of thyroidal toxicity. Recent findings also raise the possibility that long-term exposure to sulforaphane, or to other natural substances or drugs that modulate the activity of the transcription factor Nrf2 (NFE2-related factor 2) may lead to thyroid dysfunction or thyroid autoimmune disease, questioning the safety of trials with sulforaphane-containing products. Previous studies addressing possible effects of sulforaphane-related compounds from natural product extracts on the thyroid were quite short and/or inconsistent. To investigate whether long-term exposure to a beverage enriched with sulforaphane and its precursor glucoraphanin may affect thyroid function, we analyzed biochemical measures of thyroid function and thyroid autoimmunity in 45 female participants in a randomized clinical trial at baseline and after 84 days of beverage administration. Serum levels of thyroid-stimulating hormone, free thyroxine and thyroglobulin were not affected by the treatment, and neither was the thyroid autoimmunity status of participants. These results provide evidence in favor of the safety of chemoprevention strategies that target the activation of Nrf2 to protect against environmental exposures and other oxidative stress-related pathologies.
Extracts from Sageretia thea reduce cell viability through inducing cyclin D1 proteasomal degradation and HO-1 expression in human colorectal cancer cells
Sageretia thea (S. thea) has been used as the medicinal plant for treating hepatitis and fevers in Korea and China. Recently, anticancer activity of S. thea has been reported, but the potential mechanism for the anti-cancer property of S. thea is still insufficient. Thus, we evaluated whether extracts from the leaves (STL) and branches (STB) of S. thea exert anticancer activity and elucidated its potential mechanism in SW480 cells.
Nuclear factor erythroid 2-related factors 1 and 2 are able to define the worst prognosis group among high-risk diffuse large B cell lymphomas treated with R-CHOEP
Oxidative stress markers and antioxidant enzymes have previously been shown to have prognostic value and associate with adverse outcome in patients with diffuse large B cell lymphoma (DLBCL). Nuclear factor erythroid 2-related factor 1 (Nrf1) and factor 2 (Nrf2) are among the principal inducers of antioxidant enzyme production. Kelch ECH associating protein 1 (Keap1) is a negative regulator of Nrf2, and BTB (BR-C, ttk and bab) domain and CNC homolog 1 (Bach1) represses the function of both factors. Their significance in DLBCL prognosis is unknown.
Targeting IDH1-Mutated Malignancies with NRF2 Blockade
Neomorphic IDH1 mutations disrupt the redox balance by promoting reactive oxygen species (ROS) production. However, the mechanism by which IDH1-mutant cells maintain ROS homeostasis remains elusive. It is also not known whether reprogrammed ROS homeostasis establishes targetable vulnerability in IDH1-mutated cancers.
Dimethyl fumarate, a two-edged drug: Current status and future directions
Dimethyl fumarate (DMF) is a fumaric acid ester registered for the treatment of relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis (RRMS). It induces protein succination leading to inactivation of cysteine-rich proteins. It was first shown to possess cytoprotective and antioxidant effects in noncancer models, which appeared related to the induction of the nuclear factor erythroid 2 (NF-E2)-related factor 2 (NRF2) pathway. DMF also displays antitumor activity in several cellular and mice models. Recently, we showed that the anticancer mechanism of DMF is dose-dependent and is paradoxically related to the decrease in the nuclear translocation of NRF2. Some other studies performed indicate also the potential role of DMF in cancers, which are dependent on the NRF2 antioxidant and cellular detoxification program, such as KRAS-mutated lung adenocarcinoma. It, however, seems that DMF has multiple biological effects as it has been shown to also inhibit the transcription factor nuclear factor kappa-light-chain-enhancer of activated B cells (NF-κB), thus blocking downstream targets that may be involved in the development and progression of inflammatory cascades leading to various disease processes, including tumors, lymphomas, diabetic retinopathy, arthritis, and psoriasis. Herein, we present the current status and future directions of the use of DMF in various diseases models with particular emphases on its targeting of specific intracellular signal transduction cascades in cancer; to shed some light on its possible mode of action.
Time resolved Gene Expression Analysis during Tamoxifen adaption of MCF-7 cells identifies long non-coding RNAs with prognostic Impact
Acquired tamoxifen resistance is a persistent problem for the treatment of estrogen receptor positive, premenopausal breast cancer patients and predictive biomarkers are still elusive. We here analyzed gene expression changes in a cellular model to identify early and late changes upon tamoxifen exposure and thereby novel prognostic biomarkers. Estrogen receptor positive MCF-7 cells were incubated with 4OH-tamoxifen (10 nM) and gene expression analyzed by array hybridization during 12 weeks. Array results were confirmed by nCounter- and qRT-PCR technique. Pathway enrichment analysis revealed that early responses concerned mainly amine synthesis and NRF2-related signaling and evolved into a stable gene expression pattern within 4 weeks characterized by changes in glucuronidation-, estrogen metabolism-, nuclear receptor- and interferon signaling pathways. As a large number of long non coding RNAs was subject to regulation, we investigated 5 of these (linc01213, linc00632 linc0992, LOC101929547 and XR_133213) in more detail. From these, only linc01213 was upregulated but all were less abundant in estrogen-receptor negative cell lines (MDA-MB 231, SKBR-3 and UACC3199). In a web-based survival analysis linc01213 and linc00632 turned out to have prognostic impact. Linc01213 was investigated further by plasmid-mediated over-expression as well as siRNA down-regulation in MCF-7 cells. Nevertheless, this had no effect on proliferation or expression of tamoxifen regulated genes, but migration was increased. In conclusion, the cellular model identified a set of lincRNAs with prognostic relevance for breast cancer. One of these, linc01213 although regulated by 4OH-tamoxifen, is not a central regulator of tamoxifen adaption, but interferes with the regulation of migration.
Small variations in nanoparticle structure dictate differential cellular stress responses and mode of cell death
For optimal exploitation of nanoparticles (NPs) in biomedicine, and to predict nanotoxicity, detailed knowledge of the cellular responses to cell-bound or internalized NPs is imperative. The final outcome of NP-cell interaction is dictated by the type and magnitude of the NP insult and the cellular response. Here, this has been systematically studied by using poly(alkylcyanoacrylate) (PACA) particles differing only in their alkyl side chains; butyl (PBCA), ethylbutyl (PEBCA), or octyl (POCA), respectively. Surprisingly, these highly similar NPs induced different stress responses and modes of cell death in human cell lines. The POCA particles generally induced endoplasmic reticulum stress and apoptosis. In contrast, PBCA and PEBCA particles induced oxidative stress and lipid peroxidation depending on the level of the glutathione precursor cystine and transcription of the cystine transporter SLC7A11. The latter was induced as a protective response by the transcription factors ATF4 and Nrf2. PBCA particles strongly activated ATF4 downstream of the eIF2α kinase HRI, whereas PEBCA particles more potently induced Nrf2 antioxidant responses. Intriguingly, PBCA particles activated the cell death mechanism ferroptosis; a promising option for targeting multidrug-resistant cancers. Our findings highlight that even minor differences in NP composition can severely impact the cellular response to NPs. This may have important implications in therapeutic settings.
NRF2 Activation in Cancer: From DNA to Protein
The Cancer Genome Atlas catalogued alterations in the Kelch-like ECH-associated protein 1 and nuclear factor erythroid 2-related factor 2 (NRF2) signaling pathway in 6.3% of patient samples across 226 studies, with significant enrichment in lung and upper airway cancers. These alterations constitutively activate NRF2-dependent gene transcription to promote many of the cancer hallmarks, including cellular resistance to oxidative stress, xenobiotic efflux, proliferation, and metabolic reprogramming. Almost universally, NRF2 activity strongly associates with poor patient prognosis and chemo- and radioresistance. Yet to date, FDA-approved drugs targeting NRF2 activity in cancer have not been realized. Here, we review various mechanisms that contribute to NRF2 activation in cancer, organized around the central dogma of molecular biology (i) at the DNA level with genomic and epigenetic alterations, (ii) at the RNA level including differential mRNA splicing and stability, and (iii) at the protein level comprising altered posttranslational modifications and protein-protein interactions. Ultimately, defining and understanding the mechanisms responsible for NRF2 activation in cancer may lead to novel targets for therapeutic intervention.
Hallmarks of the cancer cell of origin: Comparisons with "energetic" cancer stem cells (e-CSCs)
Here, we discuss the expected hallmark(s) of the cancer cell of origin and how this may be related to a new tumor cell phenotype, namely "energetic" cancer stem cells (e-CSCs). e-CSCs show many features that would be characteristic of the cancer cell of origin, including the over-expression of p21-WAF (CDKN1A), a key marker of senescence. It is tempting to speculate that the cancer cell of origin and e-CSCs are closely related entities. e-CSCs possess a hybrid phenotype, sharing key hallmarks of senescence, "stemness" and cancer. e-CSCs are hyper-proliferative and have elevated mitochondrial metabolism, with an NRF2-mediated anti-oxidant response signature, including glutaredoxin (GLRX) and ALDH3A1 over-expression, possibly related to their escape from senescence. Finally, in e-CSCs, BCAS1 (Breast carcinoma-amplified sequence-1) protein expression was up-regulated by >100-fold. BCAS1 is a candidate oncogene associated with "stemness" and aggressive oncogenic behavior, such as Tamoxifen resistance.
Macrophage achieves self-protection against oxidative stress-induced ageing through the Mst-Nrf2 axis
Reactive oxygen species (ROS) production in phagocytes is a major defense mechanism against pathogens. However, the cellular self-protective mechanism against such potential damage from oxidative stress remains unclear. Here we show that the kinases Mst1 and Mst2 (Mst1/2) sense ROS and maintain cellular redox balance by modulating the stability of antioxidant transcription factor Nrf2. Site-specific ROS release recruits Mst1/2 from the cytosol to the phagosomal or mitochondrial membrane, with ROS subsequently activating Mst1/2 to phosphorylate kelch like ECH associated protein 1 (Keap1) and prevent Keap1 polymerization, thereby blocking Nrf2 ubiquitination and degradation to protect cells against oxidative damage. Treatment with the antioxidant N-acetylcysteine disrupts ROS-induced interaction of Mst1/2 with phagosomes or mitochondria, and thereby diminishes the Mst-Nrf2 signal. Consistently, loss of Mst1/2 results in increased oxidative injury, phagocyte ageing and death. Thus, our results identify the Mst-Nrf2 axis as an important ROS-sensing and antioxidant mechanism during an antimicrobial response.
UVB drives different stages of epigenome alterations during progression of skin cancer
Exposure to ultraviolet B (UVB) irradiation results in multitude of cellular responses including generation of reactive oxygen species and DNA damage and is responsible for non-melanoma skin cancers (NMSCs). Although genetic mutation is well documented, the epi-mutation, the alteration in epigenetics, remains elusive. In this study, we utilized CpG Methyl-seq to identify a genome-wide DNA CpG methylation, to profile the DNA methylation in UVB-irradiated SKH-1 mouse skin epidermis and non-melanoma skin papillomas at various stages. Methyl-seq and RNA-seq were performed to examine the methylation and corresponding transcriptome alterations. The methylation profiles in mouse epidermis were altered by UVB-irradiation as time progresses. Ingenuity Pathways Analysis (IPA) identified many cancer related pathways including PTEN, p53, Nrf2 and inflammatory signaling in UVB-irradiation induced carcinogenesis. Additionally, some novel genes involved in skin carcinogenesis that were not previously reported were differentially methylated, including Enf2, Mgst2, Vegfa, and Cdk4. Taken together, the current study provides novel profiles and insights of methylation and transcriptomic changes at different stages of carcinogenesis in UVB-irradiation induced NMSC and offers potential targets for prevention and treatment of NMSC at different stages of human skin cancer.
Digoxin sensitizes gemcitabine-resistant pancreatic cancer cells to gemcitabine via inhibiting Nrf2 signaling pathway
Chemoresistance is a major therapeutic obstacle in the treatment of human pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC). As an oxidative stress responsive transcription factor, nuclear factor erythroid 2-related factor 2 (Nrf2) regulates the expression of cytoprotective genes. Nrf2 not only plays a critical role in chemoprevention, but also contributes to chemoresistance. In this study, we found that digoxin markedly reversed drug resistance of gemcitabine by inhibiting Nrf2 signaling in SW1990/Gem and Panc-1/Gem cells. Further research revealed that digoxin regulated Nrf2 at transcriptional level. In in vivo study, we found that digoxin and gemcitabine in combination inhibited tumor growth more substantially when compared with gemcitabine treatment alone in SW1990/Gem-shControl cells-derived xenografts. In the meantime, SW1990/Gem-shNrf2 cells-derived xenografts responded to gemcitabine and combination treatment similarly, suggesting that digoxin sensitized gemcitabine-resistant human pancreatic cancer to gemcitabine, which was Nrf2 dependent. These results demonstrated that digoxin might be used as a promising adjuvant sensitizer to reverse chemoresistance of gemcitabine-resistant pancreatic cancer to gemcitabine via inhibiting Nrf2 signaling.
Correction: The Nrf2 inhibitor brusatol is a potent antitumour agent in an orthotopic mouse model of colorectal cancer
[This corrects the article DOI: 10.18632/oncotarget.25497.].
Strigolactone GR24 upregulates target genes of the cytoprotective transcription factor Nrf2 in skeletal muscle
GR24 is a synthetic strigolactone analog, demonstrated to regulate the development of plants and arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi. GR24 possesses anti-cancer and anti-apoptotic properties, enhances insulin sensitivity and mitochondrial biogenesis in skeletal myotubes, inhibits adipogenesis, decreases inflammation in adipocytes and macrophages and downregulates the expression of hepatic gluconeogenic enzymes. Transcription factor Nrf2 (Nuclear factor (erythroid-derived 2)-like 2) is a master regulator of antioxidant response, regulating a multitude of genes involved in cellular stress responses and anti-inflammatory pathways, thus maintaining cellular redox homeostasis. Nrf2 activation reduces the deleterious effects of mitochondrial toxins and has multiple roles in promoting mitochondrial function and dynamics. We studied the role of GR24 on gene expression in rat L6 skeletal muscle cells which were differentiated into myotubes. The myotubes were treated with GR24 and analyzed by microarray gene expression profiling. GR24 upregulated the cytoprotective transcription factor Nrf2 and its target genes, activating antioxidant defences, suggesting that GR24 may protect skeletal muscle from the toxic effects of oxidative stress.