The PI3K/Akt/mTOR pathway is considered to be an attractive target for the development of novel anticancer molecules. This paper reports for the first time that a small molecule, antrocin (MW = 234), from Antrodia camphorata was a potent antagonist in various cancer types, being highest in metastatic breast cancer MDA-MB-231 cells (MMCs) with an IC50 value of 0.6 μM. Antrocin was a superior antiproliferator in MMCs as compared with doxorubicin and cisplatin, prevents colony formation, and was nontoxic to nontumorgenic MCF10A and HS-68 cells. Antrocin induced dose-dependent apoptosis in MMCs and caused cleavage of caspase-3 and poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase. Antrocin also caused a time-dependent decrease in protein expression of anti-apoptotic Bcl-2, Bcl-xL, survivin, and their mRNA, with concomitant increase in pro-apoptotic Bax and cytosolic cytochrome c. In a mechanistic study, antrocin suppressed the phosphorylation of Akt and its downstream effectors mTOR, GSK-3β, and NF-κB. Furthermore, down-regulation of Akt by small interfering RNA prior to antrocin treatment resulted in enhanced cell growth inhibition and apoptosis. Thus, antrocin as an Akt/mTOR dual inhibitor has broad applicability in the development of a clinical trial candidate for the treatment of metastatic breast cancer.
ASJC Scopus subject areas