Anticancer potential of novel curcumin analogs towards castrate-resistant prostate cancer
- Shuli Chen
- Mhairi Nimick
- Andrew G. Cridge
- Bill C. Hawkins
- Rhonda J. Rosengren
Published online on: November 20, 2017
Prostate cancer is initially sensitive to hormone therapy; however, over time the majority of patients progress to a hormone-insensitive form classified as castration-resistant prostate cancer (CRPC). CRPC is highly metastatic and patients have a poor prognosis. Thus, new drugs for the treatment of this disease are required. In this study, we therefore examined the cytotoxic effects and anticancer mechanism(s) of action of second generation curcumin analogs towards CRPC cells. For this purpose, PC3 and DU145 cells were treated with a series of curcumin analogs at 0-10 µM for 72 h and cytotoxicity was determined by the sulforhodamine B (SRB) assay. Two compounds, 1-isopropyl-3,5-bis(pyridin-3-ylmethylene)-4-piperidone (RL118) and 1-methyl-3,5-[(6-methoxynaphthalen-2-yl)methylene]-4-piperidone (RL121), were found to have the most potent cytotoxic effect with EC50 values of 0.50 and 0.58 µM in the PC3 cells and EC50 values of 0.76 and 0.69 µM in the DU145 cells, respectively. Thus, further experiments were performed focusing on these two compounds. Flow cytometry was performed to determine their effects on the cell cycle and apoptosis. Both analogs increased the number of cells in the G2/M phase of the cell cycle and induced apoptosis. Specifically, in the PC3 cells, RL121 increased the number of cells in the G2/M phase by 86% compared to the control, while RL118 increased the number of cells in the G2/M phase by 42% compared to the control after 24 h. Moreover, both RL118 and RL121 induced the apoptosis of both cell lines. In the DU145 cells, a 38-fold increase in the number of apoptotic cells was elicited by RL118 and a 78-fold increase by RL121 compared to the control. Furthermore, the effects of both analogs on the expression of key proteins involved in cell proliferation were also determined by western blot analysis. The results revealed that both analogs inhibited the expression of nuclear factor (NF)-κB (p65/RelA), eukaryotic translation initiation factor 4E-binding protein 1 (4E-BP1), p-4E-BP1, mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR), p-mTOR, AKT and p-AKT. Thus, the findings of this study provide evidence that RL118 and RL121 have potent anticancer activity against CPRC cells, and both analogs warrant further investigation in vivo.