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Theranostics. 2015 Jan 1;5(3):302-21. doi: 10.7150/thno.8387. eCollection 2015.

Parthenolide inhibits cancer stem-like side population of nasopharyngeal carcinoma cells via suppression of the NF-κB/COX-2 pathway.

Author information

1
2. Guangdong Provincial Key Laboratory of Food, Nutrition and Health, School of Public Health, Sun Yat-sen University, Guangzhou 510080, PR China.
2
1. State Key Laboratory of Molecular Vaccinology and Molecular Diagnostics, School of Public Health, Xiamen University, Xiamen Fujian 361102, PR China.
3
3. Zhongshan School of Medicine, Sun Yat-sen University, Guangzhou 510080, PR China.
4
1. State Key Laboratory of Molecular Vaccinology and Molecular Diagnostics, School of Public Health, Xiamen University, Xiamen Fujian 361102, PR China. ; 2. Guangdong Provincial Key Laboratory of Food, Nutrition and Health, School of Public Health, Sun Yat-sen University, Guangzhou 510080, PR China.

Abstract

Cancer stem cells play a central role in the pathogenesis of nasopharyngeal carcinoma and contribute to both disease initiation and relapse. In this study, cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) was found to regulate cancer stem-like side population cells of nasopharyngeal carcinoma cells and enhance cancer stem-like cells' characteristics such as higher colony formation efficiency and overexpression of stemness-associated genes. The regulatory effect of COX-2 on cancer stem-like characteristics may be mediated by ABCG2. COX-2 overexpression by a gain-of-function experiment increased the proportion of side population cells and their cancer stemness properties. The present study also demonstrated that in contrast to the classical chemotherapy drug 5-fluorouracil, which increased the proportion of side population cells and upregulated the expression of COX-2, parthenolide, a naturally occurring small molecule, preferentially targeted the side population cells of nasopharyngeal carcinoma cells and downregulated COX-2. Moreover, we found that the cancer stem-like cells' phenotype was suppressed by using COX-2 inhibitors NS-398 and CAY10404 or knocking down COX-2 with siRNA and shRNA. These findings suggest that COX-2 inhibition is the mechanism by which parthenolide induces cell death in the cancer stem-like cells of nasopharyngeal carcinoma. In addition, parthenolide exhibited an inhibitory effect on nuclear factor-kappa B (NF-κB) nucler translocation by suppressing both the phosphorylation of IκB kinase complex and IκBα degradation. Taken together, these results suggest that parthenolide may exert its cancer stem cell-targeted chemotherapy through the NF-κB/COX-2 pathway.

KEYWORDS:

cyclooxygenase-2; nasopharyngeal carcinoma; nuclear factor-kappa B; parthenolide; side population cells.

PMID:
25553117
PMCID:
PMC4279193
DOI:
10.7150/thno.8387
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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