Apocynin derivatives interrupt intracellular signaling resulting in decreased migration in breast cancer cells

J Biomed Biotechnol. 2006;2006(2):87246. doi: 10.1155/JBB/2006/87246.


Cancer cells are defined by their ability to divide uncontrollably and metastasize to secondary sites in the body. Consequently, tumor cell migration represents a promising target for anticancer drug development. Using our high-throughput cell migration assay, we have screened several classes of compounds for noncytotoxic tumor cell migration inhibiting activity. One such compound, apocynin (4-acetovanillone), is oxidized by peroxidases to yield a variety of oligophenolic and quinone-type compounds that are recognized inhibitors of NADPH oxidase and may be inhibitors of the small G protein Rac1 that controls cell migration. We report here that while apocynin itself is not effective, apocynin derivatives inhibit migration of the breast cancer cell line MDA-MB-435 at subtoxic concentrations; the migration of nonmalignant MCF10A breast cells is unaffected. These compounds also cause a significant rearrangement of the actin cytoskeleton, cell rounding, and decreased levels of active Rac1 and its related G protein Cdc42. These results may suggest a promising new route to the development of novel anticancer therapeutics.