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Mol Cancer Ther. 2010 Feb;9(2):389-99. doi: 10.1158/1535-7163.MCT-09-0775. Epub 2010 Jan 26.

Herbal compound farnesiferol C exerts antiangiogenic and antitumor activity and targets multiple aspects of VEGFR1 (Flt1) or VEGFR2 (Flk1) signaling cascades.

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Cancer Preventive Material Development ResearchCenter, College of Oriental Medicine, Kyunghee University, Seoul, Korea.


Farnesiferol C (FC) is one of the major compounds isolated from Ferula assafoetida, an Asian herbal spice used for cancer treatment as a folk remedy. Here, we examined the hypothesis that novel antiangiogenic activities of FC contribute to anticancer efficacy. In human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVEC), exposure to the 10 to 40 mumol/L concentration range of FC inhibited vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF)-induced cell proliferation, migration, invasion, tube formation, and the expression of matrix metalloproteinase-2. In addition, FC inhibited the angiogenic sprouting of VEGF-treated rat aorta in an ex vivo model. Furthermore, FC inhibited the in vivo growth of mouse Lewis lung cancer allograft model by 60% (P < 0.001) at a daily i.p. dosage of 1 mg/kg body weight without any negative effect on the weight of the host mice. Immunohistochemistry staining showed decreased microvessel density (CD34) and proliferative index (Ki-67) without affecting the apoptotic (terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase-mediated dUTP nick end labeling) index. Mechanistically, FC decreased the binding of VEGF to VEGFR1/Flt-1, but not to VEGFR2/KDR/Flk-1. In terms of early signaling, FC exerted a rapid inhibitory action (examined within 10 minutes) on VEGF-induced autophosphorylation of VEGFR1 without affecting that of VEGFR2. Nevertheless, FC decreased the phosphorylation of most of the kinases downstream of VEGFR2: focal adhesion kinase, Src, extracellular signal-regulated kinase 1/2, p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase, and c-jun-NH(2)-kinase without affecting AKT. Computer simulation suggests that FC may inhibit Src or focal adhesion kinase protein activities directly through its docking to their ATP-binding sites. Taken together, the multitargeting actions of FC, particularly VEGFR1 inhibition, may make it a novel drug candidate to complement current VEGF/VEGFR2-targeting antiangiogenic modalities for cancer.

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