ψ-Bufarenogin, a novel anti-tumor compound, suppresses liver cancer growth by inhibiting receptor tyrosine kinase-mediated signaling.Oncotarget. 2015 May 10; 6(13):11627-39.O
Resistance of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) to existing chemotherapeutic agents largely contributes to the poor prognosis of patients, and discovery of novel anti-HCC drug is in an urgent need. Herein we report ψ-Bufarenogin, a novel active compound that we isolated from the extract of toad skin, exhibited potent therapeutic effect in xenografted human hepatoma without notable side effects. In vitro, ψ-Bufarenogin suppressed HCC cells proliferation through impeding cell cycle progression, and it facilitated cell apoptosis by downregulating Mcl-1 expression. Moreover, ψ-Bufarenogin decreased the number of hepatoma stem cells through Sox2 depression and exhibited synergistic effect with conventional chemotherapeutics. Mechanistic study revealed that ψ-Bufarenogin impaired the activation of MEK/ERK pathway, which is essential in the proliferation of hepatoma cells. ψ-Bufarenogin notably suppressed PI3-K/Akt cascade, which was required in ψ-Bufarenogin-mediated reduction of Mcl-1 and Sox2. ψ-Bufarenogin inhibited the auto-phosphorylation and activation of epithelial growth factor receptor (EGFR) and hepatocyte growth factor receptor (c-Met), thereafter suppressed their primary downstream cascades Raf/MEK/ERK and PI3-K/Akt signaling. Taken together, ψ-Bufarenogin suppressed HCC growth via inhibiting, at least partially, receptor tyrosine kinases-regulated signaling, suggesting that ψ-Bufarenogin could be a novel lead compound for anti-HCC drug.