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Cancer Med. 2015 Feb;4(2):278-92. doi: 10.1002/cam4.367. Epub 2014 Dec 1.

Zerumbone increases oxidative stress in a thiol-dependent ROS-independent manner to increase DNA damage and sensitize colorectal cancer cells to radiation.

Author information

1
Department of Experimental Radiation Oncology, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, Texas, 77030.

Abstract

Locally advanced rectal cancers are treated with neoadjuvant chemoradiation therapy followed by surgery. In a minority (~20%) of patients, no tumor is present at the time of surgery; these patients with a complete pathologic response (pathCR) to neoadjuvant therapy have better treatment outcomes. Unfortunately, the inherent radioresistance of colorectal cancer (CRC) cells dictates that the majority of patients do not achieve a pathCR. Efforts to improve these odds have fueled the search for novel, relatively less-toxic radiosensitizers with distinct molecular mechanism(s) and broad-spectrum anticancer activities. Here, we use zerumbone, a sesquiterpene from the edible ginger (Zingiber zerumbet Smith), to enhance radiosensitivity of CRC cells. Short exposure to zerumbone (7 h) profoundly sensitized CRC cells, independent of their p53 or k-RAS status. Zerumbone enhanced radiation-induced cell cycle arrest (G2/M), increased radiation-induced apoptosis, but induced little apoptosis by itself. Zerumbone significantly enhanced radiation-induced DNA damage, as evident by delayed resolution of post-irradiation nuclear γH2AX foci, whereas zerumbone treatment alone did not induce γH2AX foci formation. Zerumbone pretreatment inhibited radiation-induced nuclear expression of DNA repair proteins ataxia-telangiectasia mutated (ATM) and DNA-PKcs. Interestingly, zerumbone-mediated radiosensitization did not involve reactive oxygen species (ROS), but was mediated through depletion of cellular glutathione (GSH). Ability of only thiol-based antioxidants to abrogate zerumbone-mediated radiosensitization further corroborated this hypothesis. The α,β-unsaturated carbonyl group in zerumbone was found to be essential for its bioactivity as zerumbone analog α-Humulene that lacks this functional group, could neither radiosensitize CRC cells, nor deplete cellular GSH. Our studies elucidate novel mechanism(s) of zerumbone's ability to enhance CRC radiosensitivity.

KEYWORDS:

Colorectal cancer; DNA repair; glutathione; radiation; sesquiterpene

PMID:
25450478
PMCID:
PMC4329011
DOI:
10.1002/cam4.367
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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