Combined Treatment of Heteronemin and Tetrac Induces Antiproliferation in Oral Cancer Cells

Chi Hung Huang, Tung Yung Huang, Wong Jin Chang, Yi Shin Pan, Hung Ru Chu, Zi Lin Li, Sukanya Unson, Yu Tang Chin, Chi Yu Lin, Haw Ming Huang, Chao Nan Hsiung, Fabio Gionfra, Paolo De Vito, Jens Z. Pedersen, Sandra Incerpi, Yi Ru Chen, Sheng Yang Lee, Hung Yun Lin, Paul J. Davis, Jacqueline Whang-PengKuan Wang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


BACKGROUND: Heteronemin, a marine sesterterpenoid-type natural product, possesses an antiproliferative effect in cancer cells. In addition, heteronemin has been shown to inhibit p53 expression. Our laboratory has demonstrated that the thyroid hormone deaminated analogue, tetrac, activates p53 and induces antiproliferation in colorectal cancer. However, such drug mechanisms are still to be studied in oral cancer cells.

METHODS: We investigated the antiproliferative effects by Cell Counting Kit-8 and flow cytometry. The signal transduction pathway was measured by Western blotting analyses. Quantitative PCR was used to evaluate gene expression regulated by heteronemin, 3,3',5,5'-tetraiodothyroacetic acid (tetrac), or their combined treatment in oral cancer cells.

RESULTS: Heteronemin inhibited not only expression of proliferative genes and Homo Sapiens Thrombospondin 1 ( THBS-1) but also cell proliferation in both OEC-M1 and SCC-25 cells. Remarkably, heteronemin increased TGF-β1 expression in SCC-25 cells. Tetrac suppressed expression of THBS-1 but not p53 expression in both cancer cell lines. Furthermore, the synergistic effect of tetrac and heteronemin inhibited ERK1/2 activation and heteronemin also blocked STAT3 signaling. Combined treatment increased p53 protein and p53 activation accumulation although heteronemin inhibited p53 expression in both cancer cell lines. The combined treatment induced antiproliferation synergistically more than a single agent.

CONCLUSIONS: Both heteronemin and tetrac inhibited ERK1/2 activation and increased p53 phosphorylation. They also inhibited THBS-1 expression. Moreover, tetrac suppressed TGF-β expression combined with heteronemin to further enhance antiproliferation and anti-metastasis in oral cancer cells.

Original languageEnglish
Article number348
JournalMarine Drugs
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2 2020


  • antiproliferation
  • heteronemin
  • oral cancer
  • tetrac
  • Antiproliferation
  • Heteronemin
  • Oral cancer
  • Tetrac

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Drug Discovery


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