Eritoran suppresses colon cancer by altering a functional balance in toll-like receptors that bind lipopolysaccharide

Wei Ting Kuo, Tsung Chun Lee, Linda Chia Hui Yu

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38 Citations (Scopus)


Colorectal carcinogenesis is affected by overexpression of the lipopolysaccharide (LPS) receptors CD14 and TLR4, which antagonize each other by affecting epithelial cell proliferation and apoptosis. Eritoran is an investigational drug for sepsis treatment that resembles the lipid A moiety of LPS and therefore acts as a TLR4 inhibitor. In the present study, we explored the potential therapeutic uses and mechanisms of action of eritoran in reducing colon cancer progression. Eritoran administration via intracolonic, intragastric, or intravenous routes significantly reduced tumor burden in a chemically induced mouse model of colorectal carcinoma. Decreased proliferation and increased apoptosis were observed in mouse tumor cells after eritoran treatment. In vitro cultures of mouse primary tumor spheroids and human cancer cell lines displayed increased cell proliferation and cell-cycle progression following LPS challenge. This effect was inhibited by eritoran and by silencing CD14 or TLR4. In contrast, apoptosis induced by eritoran was eliminated by silencing CD14 or protein kinase Cζ (PKCζ) but not TLR4. Lastly, LPS and eritoran caused hyperphosphorylation of PKCζ in a CD14-dependent and TLR4-independent manner. Blocking PKCζ activation by a Src kinase inhibitor and a PKCz-pseudosubstrate prevented eritoraninduced apoptosis. In summary, our work offers a preclinical proof of concept for the exploration of eritoran as a clinical treatment, with a mechanistic rationale to reposition this drug to improve the management of colorectal cancer. Cancer Res; 76(16); 4684-95.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4684-4695
Number of pages12
JournalCancer Research
Issue number16
Publication statusPublished - Aug 15 2016
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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