Structurally modified curcumin analogs inhibit STAT3 phosphorylation and promote apoptosis of human renal cell carcinoma and melanoma cell lines

Matthew A. Bill, Courtney Nicholas, Thomas A. Mace, Jonathan P. Etter, Chenglong Li, Eric B. Schwartz, James R. Fuchs, Gregory S. Young, Li Lin, Jiayuh Lin, Lei He, Mitch Phelps, Pui Kai Li, Gregory B. Lesinski

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62 Scopus citations

Abstract

The Janus kinase-2 (Jak2)-signal transducer and activator of transcription-3 (STAT3) pathway is critical for promoting an oncogenic and metastatic phenotype in several types of cancer including renal cell carcinoma (RCC) and melanoma. This study describes two small molecule inhibitors of the Jak2-STAT3 pathway, FLLL32 and its more soluble analog, FLLL62. These compounds are structurally distinct curcumin analogs that bind selectively to the SH2 domain of STAT3 to inhibit its phosphorylation and dimerization. We hypothesized that FLLL32 and FLLL62 would induce apoptosis in RCC and melanoma cells and display specificity for the Jak2-STAT3 pathway. FLLL32 and FLLL62 could inhibit STAT3 dimerization in vitro. These compounds reduced basal STAT3 phosphorylation (pSTAT3), and induced apoptosis in four separate human RCC cell lines and in human melanoma cell lines as determined by Annexin V/PI staining. Apoptosis was also confirmed by immunoblot analysis of caspase-3 processing and PARP cleavage. Pre-treatment of RCC and melanoma cell lines with FLLL32/62 did not inhibit IFN-γ-induced pSTAT1. In contrast to FLLL32, curcumin and FLLL62 reduced downstream STAT1-mediated gene expression of IRF1 as determined by Real Time PCR. FLLL32 and FLLL62 significantly reduced secretion of VEGF from RCC cell lines in a dose-dependent manner as determined by ELISA. Finally, each of these compounds inhibited in vitro generation of myeloid-derived suppressor cells. These data support further investigation of FLLL32 and FLLL62 as lead compounds for STAT3 inhibition in RCC and melanoma.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere40724
JournalPloS one
Volume7
Issue number8
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 10 2012

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ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • General

Cite this

Bill, M. A., Nicholas, C., Mace, T. A., Etter, J. P., Li, C., Schwartz, E. B., Fuchs, J. R., Young, G. S., Lin, L., Lin, J., He, L., Phelps, M., Li, P. K., & Lesinski, G. B. (2012). Structurally modified curcumin analogs inhibit STAT3 phosphorylation and promote apoptosis of human renal cell carcinoma and melanoma cell lines. PloS one, 7(8), [e40724]. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0040724