Pancreatic cancer is an exceptionally aggressive disease, the treatment of which has largely been unsuccessful due to higher resistance offered by pancreatic cancer cells to conventional approaches such as surgery, radiation and/or chemotherapy. The aberration of Ras oncoprotein has been linked to the induction of multiple signaling pathways and to the resistance offered by pancreatic cancer cells to apoptosis. Therefore, there is a need for development of new and effective chemotherapeutic agents which can target multiple pathways to induce responsiveness of pancreatic cancer cells to death signals. In this study, human pancreatic adenocarcinoma cells AsPC-1 were used to investigate the effect of Lupeol on cell growth and its effects on the modulation of multiple Ras-induced signaling pathways. Lupeol caused a dose-dependent inhibition of cell growth as assessed by MTT assay and induction of apoptosis as assessed by flow cytometry, fluorescence microscopy and western blotting. Lupeol treatment to cells was found to significantly reduce the expression of Ras oncoprotein and modulate the protein expression of various signaling molecules involved in PKCα/ODC, PI3K/Akt and MAPKs pathways along with a significant reduction in the activation of NFκB signaling pathway. Our data suggest that Lupeol can adopt a multi-prong strategy to target multiple signaling pathways leading to induction of apoptosis and inhibition of growth of pancreatic cancer cells. Lupeol could be a potential agent against pancreatic cancer, however, further in-depth in vivo studies are warranted.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
Author (S.K.) was recipient of BOYSCAST fellowship from Department of Science and Technology, Government of India. This work was supported by United States Public Health Service grants RO1 CA 78809 and RO1 CA 101039.