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Front Biosci. 2005 May 1;10:1010-23.

Synthetic peracetate tea polyphenols as potent proteasome inhibitors and apoptosis inducers in human cancer cells.

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The Prevention Program, Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute and Department of Pathology, School of Medicine, Wayne State University, Detroit, Michigan 48201, USA.


It has been suggested that proteasome activity is essential for tumor cell proliferation and drug resistance development. We have previously shown that natural and synthetic ester bond-containing tea polyphenols are selective inhibitors of the chymotrypsin-like activity of the proteasome. The most abundant catechin in green tea is (-)-epigallocatechin-3-gallate [(-)-EGCG], which has been found by many laboratories to exhibit the most potent anticancer activity. We have reported that (-)-EGCG is also the most effective proteasome inhibitor among all the natural green tea catechins tested. Unfortunately, (-)-EGCG is very unstable in neutral and alkaline conditions. In an attempt to increase the stability and thus the efficacy, we synthesized several (-)-EGCG analogs with acetyl protected -OH groups as prodrugs. Here we report, for the first time, that these acetylated synthetic tea analogs are much more potent than natural (-)-EGCG in inhibiting the proteasome in cultured tumor cells. Consistently, these protected analogs showed much higher potency than (-)-EGCG to inhibit proliferation and transforming activity and to induce apoptosis in human leukemic, prostate, breast, and simian virus 40-transformed cells. Additionally, these protected analogs had greatly reduced effects on human normal and non-transformed cells. Therefore, these peracetate protected tea polyphenols are more efficacious than (-)-EGCG and possess great potential to be developed into novel anticancer drugs. Identification of the cytosolic metabolite(s) of peracetate-protected polyphenols in cultured tumor cells and examination of their in vivo tumor growth-inhibitory activity are currently underway in our laboratory.

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