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PLoS One. 2014 Jun 4;9(6):e98370. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0098370. eCollection 2014.

Panepoxydone targets NF-kB and FOXM1 to inhibit proliferation, induce apoptosis and reverse epithelial to mesenchymal transition in breast cancer.

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Department of Oncologic Sciences, Mitchell Cancer Institute, University of South Alabama, Mobile, Alabama, United States of America.
Department of Biology and Center for Cancer Research, Tuskegee University, Tuskegee, Alabama, United States of America.



Triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) is a highly diverse group that is associated with an aggressive phenotype. Its treatment has been challenging due to its heterogeneity and absence of well-defined molecular targets. Thus, there is an urgent need to identify novel agents with therapeutic application. NF-κB is over-expressed in many breast cancers; thus, inactivation of the NF-κB pathway could serve as a therapeutic target. Here we report for the first time the anti-tumor activity of panepoxydone (PP), a NF-κB inhibitor isolated from an edible mushroom, in several breast cancer cell lines.


We investigated the effects of PP on cell growth, migration-invasion, apoptosis and EMT-related proteins expression in MCF-7 and TNBC cell lines MDA-MB-231, MDA-MB-468 and MDA-MB-453.


Significant antitumor activity was seen in all cell lines, with differential responses noted in cell-line specific manner. Treatment with PP resulted in significant cytotoxicity, decreased invasion, migration and increased apoptosis in all cell lines tested. Up-regulation of Bax and cleaved PARP and down-regulation of Bcl-2, survivin, cyclin D1 and caspase 3 were noted in PP-treated breast cancer cells. The antitumor effect of PP appeared related to its ability to inhibit the phosphorylation of inhibitor of NF-κB (IκBα) with cytoplasmic accumulation. PP treatment also down-regulated FOXM1 which resulted in a reversal of EMT. Similar results were obtained after silencing of NF-kB and FOXM1.


Altogether, these studies show, for the first time the antitumor activity of PP against breast cancer cells, in particular TNBC cells. Furthermore, it highlights the concept that optimal treatment of TNBC warrants attention to the differential sensitivity of various TNBC subtypes to therapeutic agents. These results suggest that the PP may be a potentially effective chemopreventive or therapeutic agent against breast cancer. However, additional studies are required to more fully elucidate the mechanism of antitumor effect of PP.

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