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Free Radic Biol Med. 2009 Jan 15;46(2):220-31. doi: 10.1016/j.freeradbiomed.2008.10.025. Epub 2008 Nov 1.

The cinnamon-derived Michael acceptor cinnamic aldehyde impairs melanoma cell proliferation, invasiveness, and tumor growth.

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  • 1Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology, College of Pharmacy, Arizona Cancer Center, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ 85724, USA.


Redox dysregulation in cancer cells represents a chemical vulnerability that can be targeted by pro-oxidant redox intervention. Dietary constituents that contain an electrophilic Michael acceptor pharmacophore may therefore display promising chemopreventive and chemotherapeutic anti-cancer activity. Here, we demonstrate that the cinnamon-derived dietary Michael acceptor trans-cinnamic aldehyde (CA) impairs melanoma cell proliferation and tumor growth. Feasibility of therapeutic intervention using high doses of CA (120 mg/kg, po, daily, 10 days) was demonstrated in a human A375 melanoma SCID mouse xenograft model. Low-micromolar concentrations (IC(50)< 10 microM) of CA, but not closely related CA derivatives devoid of Michael acceptor activity, suppressed proliferation of human metastatic melanoma cell lines (A375, G361, LOX) with G1 cell-cycle arrest, elevated intracellular ROS, and impaired invasiveness. Expression array analysis revealed that CA induced an oxidative stress response in A375 cells, up-regulating heme oxygenase 1, sulfiredoxin 1 homolog, thioredoxin reductase 1, and other genes, including the cell-cycle regulator and stress-responsive tumor suppressor gene cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitor 1A, a key mediator of G1-phase arrest. CA, but not Michael-inactive derivatives, inhibited NF-kappaB transcriptional activity and TNFalpha-induced IL-8 production in A375 cells. These findings support a previously unrecognized role of CA as a dietary Michael acceptor with potential anti-cancer activity.

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