The farnesyltransferase inhibitor, LB42708, inhibits growth and induces apoptosis irreversibly in H-ras and K-ras-transformed rat intestinal epithelial cells

Toxicol Appl Pharmacol. 2006 Sep 15;215(3):317-29. doi: 10.1016/j.taap.2006.03.011. Epub 2006 May 19.


LB42708 (LB7) and LB42908 (LB9) are pyrrole-based orally active farnesyltransferase inhibitors (FTIs) that have similar structures. The in vitro potencies of these compounds against FTase and GGTase I are remarkably similar, and yet they display different activity in apoptosis induction and morphological reversion of ras-transformed rat intestinal epithelial (RIE) cells. Both FTIs induced cell death despite K-ras prenylation, implying the participation of Ras-independent mechanism(s). Growth inhibition by these two FTIs was accompanied by G1 and G2/M cell cycle arrests in H-ras and K-ras-transformed RIE cells, respectively. We identified three key markers, p21(CIP1/WAF1), RhoB and EGFR, that can explain the differences in the molecular mechanism of action between two FTIs. Only LB7 induced the upregulation of p21(CIP1/WAF1) and RhoB above the basal level that led to the cell cycle arrest and to distinct morphological alterations of ras-transformed RIE cells. Both FTIs successfully inhibited the ERK and activated JNK in RIE/K-ras cells. While the addition of conditioned medium from RIE/K-ras reversed the growth inhibition of ras-transformed RIE cells by LB9, it failed to overcome the growth inhibitory effect of LB7 in both H-ras- and K-ras-transformed RIE cells. We found that LB7, but not LB9, decreased the expression of EGFRs that confers the cellular unresponsiveness to EGFR ligands. These results suggest that LB7 causes the induction of p21(CIP1/WAF1) and RhoB and downregulation of EGFR that may serve as critical steps in the mechanism by which FTIs trigger irreversible inhibitions on the cell growth and apoptosis in ras-transformed cells.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Apoptosis / drug effects
  • Cell Cycle / drug effects
  • Cell Line, Transformed
  • Cell Proliferation / drug effects
  • Cyclin-Dependent Kinase Inhibitor p21 / metabolism
  • Enzyme Inhibitors / pharmacology*
  • Farnesyltranstransferase / antagonists & inhibitors*
  • Genes, ras / genetics
  • Imidazoles / pharmacology*
  • Intestinal Mucosa / cytology
  • Intestinal Mucosa / drug effects
  • Intestinal Mucosa / metabolism
  • Piperazines / pharmacology*
  • Pyrroles / pharmacology*
  • Rats
  • rhoB GTP-Binding Protein / metabolism


  • Cdkn1a protein, rat
  • Cyclin-Dependent Kinase Inhibitor p21
  • Enzyme Inhibitors
  • Imidazoles
  • LB42708
  • LB42908
  • Piperazines
  • Pyrroles
  • Farnesyltranstransferase
  • rhoB GTP-Binding Protein