Eur J Med Chem. 2019 Sep 15 ;178:365-379. Epub 2019 Jun 4. PMID: 31200238
Oridonin derivatives as potential anticancer drug candidates triggering apoptosis through mitochondrial pathway in the liver cancer cells.
The biological function of the natural ent-kaurene diterpenoid isolated from genus Isodon, oridonin, has been intensively studied. However, its mechanism studies and clinical applications were hampered by its moderate biological activities. In order to enlarge the applied range of oridonin and explore its mechanism of action, a series of derivatives were designed and synthesized based on the structure of oridonin. Some of the derivatives were significantly more potent than oridonin against four cancer cell lines. Especially, the most potent compound 20 markedly inhibited the proliferation of well differentiated HepG2 and poorly differentiated PLC/PRF/5 cells, with ICvalues as low as 1.36 μM and 0.78 μM respectively, while the ICvalues of oridonin are 8.12 μM and 7.41 μM. We found that compound 20 inhibited liver cancer cell proliferation via arresting cell cycle at G1 phase. Moreover, it induced liver cancer cell apoptosis by decreasing the mitochondrial membrane potential, increasing intracellular reactive oxygen species level and inducing the expression of apoptosis-related proteins. Furthermore, compound 20 significantly inhibited growth of PLC/PRF/5 xenograft tumors in nude mice and had no observable toxic effect. Altogether, these results indicated that compound 20 is a promising lead for liver cancer therapeutics.