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Cell Cycle. 2008 Dec;7(23):3759-67. Epub 2008 Dec 10.

Hexamethylene bisacetamide (HMBA) simultaneously targets AKT and MAPK pathway and represses NF kappaB activity: implications for cancer therapy.

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Laboratory of Cell Cycle Control, Institute of Molecular and Cell Biology, Proteos, Singapore, Singapore.


Hexamethylene Bisacetamide (HMBA) is a hybrid polar compound originally developed as a differentiation inducing agent. We show in this study that HMBA can inhibit activation of several NF kappaB target genes in both lung and breast cancer cell lines. Furthermore, consistent with its ability to inhibit NF kappaB function, HMBA can also sensitize cells to apoptosis. We show that HMBA mediates inhibition of the Akt and ERK/MAPK cascade, both of which are critical for cell survival and proliferation and are well known regulators of NF kappaB activation. We also show that PTEN negative breast cancer cells which have hyper activation of the PI3K/Akt pathway show increased sensitivity to growth inhibitory effects of combination of HMBA and TNFalpha. Furthermore, HMBA can decrease the kinase activity of the IKK complex leading to defective phosphorylation of I kappaB alpha and Ser536 of p65. This study gives mechanistic insight into the mechanism of action of HMBA, provides the rationale for the potential use of HMBA in combination with various existing kinase inhibitors in combination therapy and also suggests useful biomarkers for monitoring tumor response to HMBA.

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