Molecular mechanisms of deguelin-induced apoptosis in transformed human bronchial epithelial cells.
Biochem Pharmacol. 2004 Sep 15 ;68(6):1119-24. PMID: 15313408
Increasing evidence has demonstrated that the phosphatidylinositol-3 kinase (PI3K)/Akt signaling pathway plays an important role in cell proliferation, apoptosis, angiogenesis, adhesion, invasion, and migration, functions that are critical to cancer cell survival and metastasis. Increased expression of activated Akt has been observed in the early stages of tobacco-induced lung carcinogenesis. Moreover, blocking the PI3K/Akt pathway specifically inhibits the proliferation of non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) cells, indicating that the PI3K/Akt pathway is a potential target for chemoprevention and therapy in lung cancer. The aim of this work is to study the lung cancer chemopreventive potential of PI3K/Akt inhibitors using an in vitro lung carcinogenesis model. We found that genetic or pharmacologic approaches targeting the PI3K/Akt pathway inhibited the proliferation of premalignant and malignant human bronchial epithelial (HBE) cells. After screening several natural products to identify a potential lung cancer chemopreventive agent, we have found that deguelin, a rotenoid isolated from Mundulea sericea (Leguminosae), specifically inhibits the growth of transformed HBE and NSCLC cells by inducing cell-cycle arrest in the G2/M phase and apoptosis, with no detectable toxic effects on normal HBE cells, most likely due to the agent's ability to inhibit PI3K/Akt-mediated signaling pathways. The specific sensitivity of premalignant and malignant HBE and NSCLC cells to deguelin suggests that this drug could be clinically useful for chemoprevention in early-stage lung carcinogenesis and for therapy in confirmed lung cancer.