Kigamicin D, a novel anticancer agent based on a new anti-austerity strategy targeting cancer cells' tolerance to nutrient starvation

Cancer Sci. 2004 Jun;95(6):547-52. doi: 10.1111/j.1349-7006.2004.tb03247.x.


Both tolerance to nutrient starvation and angiogenesis are essential for cancer progression because of the insufficient supply of nutrients to tumor tissue. Since chronic nutrient starvation seldom occurs in normal tissue, cancer's tolerance to nutrient starvation should provide a novel target for cancer therapy. In this study, we propose an anti-austerity strategy to exploit the ability of agents to eliminate cancer cells' tolerance to nutrient starvation. We established a simple screening method for agents that inhibit cancer cell viability preferentially during nutrient starvation, using PANC-1 cell line cultured in nutrient-rich and nutrient-deprived media. After screening over 2000 culture media of actinomycetes, we identified a new compound, kigamicin D (C(48)H(59)NO(19)), which shows preferential cytotoxicity to cancer cells under nutrient-deprived conditions, but hardly any cytotoxicity under nutrient-rich conditions. Both subcutaneous and oral administration of kigamicin D strongly suppressed the tumor growth of several tested pancreatic cancer cell lines in nude mice. Moreover, kigamicin D was observed to block the activation of Akt induced by nutrient starvation. Therefore, our results suggest that kigamicin D be a candidate for implementing our novel concept, anti-austerity, which may serve as a new strategy for cancer therapy.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antineoplastic Agents / pharmacology*
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Culture Media
  • Doxorubicin / analogs & derivatives
  • Doxorubicin / pharmacology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred BALB C
  • Necrosis
  • Neoplasms, Experimental / drug therapy
  • Neoplasms, Experimental / pathology
  • Oxazoles / pharmacology*
  • Phosphorylation
  • Protein-Serine-Threonine Kinases / metabolism
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins / metabolism
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-akt


  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Culture Media
  • Oxazoles
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins
  • kigamicin D
  • Doxorubicin
  • AKT1 protein, human
  • Protein-Serine-Threonine Kinases
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-akt