Effects of anti-proliferative lichen metabolite, protolichesterinic acid on fatty acid synthase, cell signalling and drug response in breast cancer cells.
Phytomedicine. 2014 Oct 15 ;21(12):1717-24. Epub 2014 Sep 16. PMID: 25442282
BACKGROUND: The lichen compound (+)-protolichesterinic acid (+)-PA, isolated from Iceland moss, has anti-proliferative effects on several cancer cell lines. The chemical structure of (+)-PA is similar to a known fatty acid synthase (FASN) inhibitor C75.
AIMS: To test whether the anti-proliferative activity of (+)-PA is associated with effects on FASN and HER2 (human epidermal growth factor receptor 2) and major signalling pathways. Synergism between (+)-PA and lapatinib, a HER2 active drug, was also evaluated.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: Pure compound was isolated by preparative high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) and purity of (+)-PA analyzed by analytical HPLC. Cell viability was assessed using Crystal violet staining. FASN and HER2 expression was estimated by immunofluorescence. The Meso Scale Discovery (MSD)(®) assay was used to measure activation of ERK1/2 and AKT. Synergism was estimated by the CalcuSyn software.
RESULTS: Treatment with (+)-PA increased FASN expression in SK-BR-3 cells, which overexpress FASN and HER2, implying a compensatory response to inhibition of FASN activity. HER2 expression was decreased suggesting secondary downregulation. ERK1/2 and AKT signalling pathways were inhibited, probably due to reduced levels of HER2. No effects were observed in T-47D cells. Synergism between (+)-PA and lapatinib was observed in the SK-BR-3 cells.
CONCLUSION: Results suggest that the primary effect of (+)-PA is inhibition of FASN activity. Synergistic effects with lapatinib were seen only in SK-BR-3 cells, and not T-47D cells, further supporting the notion that (+)-PA acts by inhibiting FASN with secondary effects on HER2 expression and signalling. (+)-PA could therefore be a suitable agent for further testing, alone or in combination treatment against HER2-overexpressing breast cancer.