Send to:

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
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.

Author information

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


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.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for Springer Icon for PubMed Central
    Loading ...
    Write to the Help Desk