Proteasome inhibitors modulate anticancer and anti-proliferative properties via NF-kB signaling, and ubiquitin-proteasome pathways in cancer cell lines of different organs

Qureshi AA, Zuvanich EG, Khan DA, Mushtaq S, Silswal N, Qureshi N



Cancer is second most common cause of death in the United State. There are over 100 different types of cancer associated with different human organs, predominantly breast, liver, pancreas, prostate, colon, rectum, lung, and stomach. We have recently reported properties of pro-inflammatory (for treatment of various types of cancers), and anti-inflammatory (for cardiovascular disease and diabetes) compounds. The major problem associated with development of anticancer drugs is their lack of solubility in aqueous solutions and severe side effects in cancer patients. Therefore, the present study was carried out to check anticancer properties of selected compounds, mostly aqueous soluble, in cancer cell lines from different organs.


The anticancer properties, anti-proliferative, and pro-apoptotic activity of novel naturally occurring or FDA approved, nontoxic, proteasome inhibitors/activators were compared. In addition to that, effect of δ-tocotrienol on expression of proteasome subunits (X, Y, Z, LMP7, LMP2, LMP10), ICAM-1, VCAM-1, and TNF-α using total RNAs derived from plasmas of hepatitis C patients was investigated.


Our data demonstrated that following compounds are very effective in inducing apoptosis of cancer cells: Thiostrepton, dexamethasone, 2-methoxyestradiol, δ-tocotrienol, quercetin, amiloride, and quinine sulfate have significant anti-proliferation properties in Hela cells (44% – 87%) with doses of 2.5-20 μM, compared to respective controls. Anti-proliferation properties of thiostrepton, 2-methoxyestradiol, δ-tocotrienol, and quercetin were 70% – 92%. However, thiostrepton, dexamethasone, 2-methoxyestradiol, δ-tocotrienol, quercetin, and quinine sulphate were effective in pancreatic, prostate, breast, lungs, melanoma, Β-lymphocytes, and T-cells (Jurkat: 40% to 95%) compared to respective controls. In lung cancer cells, these compounds were effective between 5 and 40 μM. The IC50 values of anti-proliferation properties of thiostrepton in most of these cell lines were between doses of 2.5-5 μM, dexamethasone 2.5-20 μM, 2-methoxyestradiol 2.5-10 μM, δ-tocotrienol 2.5-20 μM, quercetin 10-40 μM, and (-) Corey lactone 40-80 μM. In hepatitis C patients, δ-tocotrienol treatment resulted in significant decrease in the expression of pro-inflammatory cytokines.


These data demonstrate effectiveness of several natural-occurring compounds with anti-proliferative properties against cancer cells of several organs of humans. Thiostrepton, dexamethasone, 2-methoxyestradiol, δ-tocotrienol and quercetin are very effective for apoptosis of cancer cells in liver, pancreas, prostate, breast, lung, melanoma, Β-lymphocytes and T-cells. The results have provided an opportunity to test these compounds either individually or in combination as dietary supplements in humans for treatment of various types of cancers.


B-lymphocytes; Breast; Inflammatory biomarkers; Liver; Lung; Melanoma; Pancreas; Potent anticancer compounds; Prostate; Several cancer cell lines (Hela; T-cells)

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