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Invest New Drugs. 2013 Jun;31(3):545-57. doi: 10.1007/s10637-012-9888-5. Epub 2012 Nov 6.

Cytotoxicity of withaferin A in glioblastomas involves induction of an oxidative stress-mediated heat shock response while altering Akt/mTOR and MAPK signaling pathways.

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  • 1Department of Pharmacology, Toxicology, and Therapeutics, University of Kansas Medical Center, Kansas, KS 66160, USA.

Abstract

Withaferin A (WA), a steroidal lactone derived from the plant Vassobia breviflora, has been reported to have anti-proliferative, pro-apoptotic, and anti-angiogenic properties against cancer growth. In this study, we identified several key underlying mechanisms of anticancer action of WA in glioblastoma cells. WA was found to inhibit proliferation by inducing a dose-dependent G2/M cell cycle arrest and promoting cell death through both intrinsic and extrinsic apoptotic pathways. This was accompanied by an inhibitory shift in the Akt/mTOR signaling pathway which included diminished expression and/or phosphorylation of Akt, mTOR, p70 S6K, and p85 S6K with increased activation of AMPKα and the tumor suppressor tuberin/TSC2. Alterations in proteins of the MAPK pathway and cell surface receptors like EGFR, Her2/ErbB2, and c-Met were also observed. WA induced an N-acetyl-L-cysteine-repressible enhancement in cellular oxidative potential/stress with subsequent induction of a heat shock stress response primarily through HSP70, HSP32, and HSP27 upregulation and HSF1 downregulation. Taken together, we suggest that WA may represent a promising chemotherapeutic candidate in glioblastoma therapy warranting further translational evaluation.

PMID:
23129310
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC3677827
Free PMC Article
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