Caffeic Acid Expands Anti-Tumor Effect of Metformin in Human Metastatic Cervical Carcinoma HTB-34 Cells: Implications of AMPK Activation and Impairment of Fatty Acids De Novo Biosynthesis.
Int J Mol Sci. 2017 Feb 21 ;18(2). Epub 2017 Feb 21. PMID: 28230778
The efficacy of cancer treatments is often limited and associated with substantial toxicity. Appropriate combination of drug targeting specific mechanisms may regulate metabolism of tumor cells to reduce cancer cell growth and to improve survival. Therefore, we investigated the effects of anti-diabetic drug Metformin (Met) and a natural compound caffeic acid (trans-3,4-dihydroxycinnamic acid, CA) alone and in combination to treat an aggressive metastatic human cervical HTB-34 (ATCC CRL-1550) cancer cell line. CA at concentration of 100µM, unlike Met at 10 mM, activated 5'-adenosine monophosphate-activated protein kinase (AMPK). What is more, CA contributed to the fueling of mitochondrial tricarboxylic acids (TCA) cycle with pyruvate by increasing Pyruvate Dehydrogenase Complex (PDH) activity, while Met promoted glucose catabolism to lactate. Met downregulated expression of enzymes of fatty acid de novo synthesis, such as ATP Citrate Lyase (ACLY), Fatty Acid Synthase (FAS), Fatty Acyl-CoA Elongase 6 (ELOVL6), and Stearoyl-CoA Desaturase-1 (SCD1) in cancer cells. In conclusion, CA mediated reprogramming of glucose processingthrough TCA cycle via oxidative decarboxylation. The increased oxidative stress, as a result of CA treatment, sensitized cancer cells and, acting on cell biosynthesis and bioenergetics, made HTB-34 cells more susceptible to Met and successfully inhibited neoplastic cells. The combination of Metformin and caffeic acid to suppress cervical carcinoma cells by two independent mechanisms may provide a promising approach to cancer treatment.