Dr. Gautam Sethi E-Mail
Associate Professor, Department of Pharmacology, Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, National University of Singapore, Singapore
Research Keywords: signal transduction; apoptosis; transcription factors; metastasis; mouse models of cancer
Transcription factors play an important role in regulating gene expression by binding to specific DNA sequences. However, once deregulated several transcription factors can mediate ontogenesis and mediate tumor initiation, promotion and progression. They can regulate a number of genes involved in abnormal proliferation, survival, angiogenesis, and metastasis of tumor cells. A number of pharmacological strategies have been employed to target the aberrant activation of transcription factors to control tumorigenesis. These include approaches to affect their expression, by mitigating protein/protein interactions, and by preventing their DNA binding at specific DNA-interacting sites. This special issue will highlight these strategies and the potential utility of these transcription factors as “druggable targets”.
Keywords: transcription factors; cancer; gene expression; apoptosis; small molecules
Cancer is one of the leading causes of mortality, contributing to 9.6 million deaths globally in 2018 alone. Although several cancer treatments exist, they are often associated with severe side effects and high toxicities, leaving room for significant advancements to be made in the field. In recent years, several phytochemicals from plants and natural bioresources have been extracted and tested against various human malignancies using both in vitro and in vivo preclinical model systems. Cardamonin, a chalcone extracted from the Alpinia species, is an example of a natural therapeutic agent that has anti-cancer and anti-inflammatory effects against human cancer cell lines, including breast, lung, colon, and gastric, in both in vitro culture systems as well as xenograft mouse models. Earlier, cardamonin was used as a natural medicine against stomach related issues, diarrhea, insulin resistance, nephroprotection against cisplatin treatment, vasorelaxant and antinociceptive. The compound is well-known to inhibit proliferation, migration, invasion, and induce apoptosis, through the involvement of Wnt/β-catenin, NF-κB, and PI3K/Akt pathways. The good biosafety and pharmacokinetic profiling of cardamonin satisfy it as an attractive molecule for the development of an anticancer agent. The present review has summarized the chemo-preventive ability of cardamonin as an anticancer agent against numerous human malignancies.
Cancer drug discovery is currently dominated by clinical trials or clinical research. Several potential drug candidates have been brought into the pipeline of drug discovery after showing very promising results at the pre-clinical level and are waiting to be tested in human clinical trials. Interestingly, among the potential drug candidates, a few of them have targeted transcription factors highlighting the fundamental undruggable nature of these molecules. However, using advanced technologies, researchers were recently successful in partly unlocking this undruggable nature, which was considered as a ‘grey area’ in the early days of drug discovery, and as a result, several potential candidates have emerged recently. The purpose of the review is to highlight some of the recently reported studies of targeting transcription factors in cancer and their promising outcomes.
Cancer is one of the most dreadful diseases in the world with a mortality of 9.6 million annually. Despite the advances in diagnosis and treatment during the last couple of decades, it still remains a serious concern due to the limitations associated with currently available cancer management strategies. Therefore, alternative strategies are highly required to overcome these glitches. The importance of medicinal plants as primary healthcare has been well-known from time immemorial against various human diseases, including cancer. Commiphora wightii that belongs to Burseraceae family is one such plant which has been used to cure various ailments in traditional systems of medicine. This plant has diverse pharmacological properties such as antioxidant, antibacterial, antimutagenic, and antitumor which mostly owes to the presence of its active compound guggulsterone (GS) that exists in the form of Z- and E-isomers. Mounting evidence suggests that this compound has promising anticancer activities and was shown to suppress several cancer signaling pathways such as NF-κB/ERK/MAPK/AKT/STAT and modulate the expression of numerous signaling molecules such as the farnesoid X receptor, cyclin D1, survivin, caspases, HIF-1α, MMP-9, EMT proteins, tumor suppressor proteins, angiogenic proteins, and apoptotic proteins. The current review is an attempt to summarize the biological activities and diverse anticancer activities (both in vitro and in vivo) of the compound GS and its derivatives, along with its associated mechanism against various cancers.
Cancer is the second death causing disease worldwide after cardiovascular abnormalities. The difficulty in treating tumor cells with more precise targeted interventions and recurrence of cancer after treatment may pose great difficulty in developing sustainable therapeutic regimens. These limitations have prompted the need to explore several compounds with ability to cease tumor growth while at the same time induce apoptosis of tumor cells. Several studies have emphasized the use of natural compounds as antitumor agents due to their high efficacy against cancer cells and low toxicity in normal cells. Salvianolic acid B (SAB), a naturally occurring phenolic compound extracted from the radix of Chinese herb Salvia miltiorrhiza can induce apoptosis in different types of tumor cells. It can be used to treat cardiovascular and neurodegenerative disorders, hepatic fibrosis, and cancers. Several studies have shown that SAB can mitigate tumorigenesis by modulating MAPK, PI3K/AKT, and NF-ĸB signaling pathways. It also sensitizes the tumor cells to different anti-cancer agents by reversing the multi-drug resistance mechanisms found in tumor cells. This review summarizes the studies showing antitumor potential of SAB in different types of cancer cell lines, animal models and highlights the possible mechanisms through which SAB can induce apoptosis, inhibit growth and metastasis in tumor cells. Moreover, the possible role of nano-technological approaches to induce targeted delivery of SAB to eradicate tumor cells has been also discussed.
Cancer remains the second leading cause of mortality globally. In combating cancer, conventional chemotherapy and/or radiotherapy are administered as first-line therapy. However, these are usually accompanied with adverse side effects that decrease the quality of patient’s lives. As such, natural bioactive compounds have gained an attraction in the scientific and medical community as evidence of their anticancer properties and attenuation of side effects mounted. In particular, quassinoids have been found to exhibit a plethora of inhibitory activities such as anti-proliferative effects on tumor development and metastasis. Recently, bruceine D, a quassinoid isolated from the shrub Brucea javanica (L.) Merr. (Simaroubaceae), has come under immense investigation on its antineoplastic properties in various human cancers including pancreas, breast, lung, blood, bone, and liver. In this review, we have highlighted the antineoplastic effects of bruceine D and its mode of actions in different tumor models.
Tanshinone is a herbal medicinal compound described in Chinese medicine, extracted from the roots of Salvia miltiorrhiza (Danshen). This family of compounds, including Tanshinone IIA and Tanshinone I, have shown remarkable potential as anti-cancer molecules, especially against breast, cervical, colorectal, gastric, lung, and prostate cancer cell lines, as well as leukaemia, melanoma, and hepatocellular carcinoma among others. Recent data has indicated that Tanshinones can modulate multiple molecular pathways such as PI3K/Akt, MAPK and JAK/STAT3, and exert their pharmacological effects against different malignancies. In addition, preclinical and clinical data, together with the safety profile of Tanshinones, encourage further applications of these compounds in cancer therapeutics. In this review article, the effect of Tanshinones on different cancers, challenges in their pharmacological development, and opportunities to harness their clinical potential have been documented.