Inhibitory effects of docosyl p-coumarate on DNA topoisomerase activity and human cancer cell growth

Int J Oncol. 2010 Oct;37(4):993-1000. doi: 10.3892/ijo_00000750.


We previously found six compounds of alkyl p-coumarates from a composite plant Artemisia annua L., and chemically synthesized these compounds (cis-isomer of C20, C22 and C24, and trans-isomer of C20, C22 and C24 of p-coumarates are compounds 1-6, respectively). This report describes the inhibitory activities of these alkyl p-coumarates against DNA polymerase (pol), DNA topoisomerase (topo), and human cancer cell growth. Among the compounds tested, compounds 1 and 4 weakly inhibited repair-related pol beta activity, but no compound influenced the activity of replicative pol alpha. Compounds 4-6 and compounds 2 and 5 were potent inhibitors of human topos I and II, respectively. Compounds 2, 4, 5 and 6 also suppressed the growth of human colon carcinoma cell line, HCT116, with or without p53, suggesting that cell growth inhibition had the same tendency as the inhibition of topos rather than pols. Compound 5 (docosyl p-coumarate), which was the strongest inhibitor of topo II and cancer cell growth in the compounds tested, halted HCT116 p53(+/+) cells in G2/M phases, and induced apoptosis, although this compound did not affect the cell cycle of HCT116 p53(-/-) cells. These results suggest that the effect of p53-dependent cell cycle arrest may be effective for topo inhibition by com-pound 5. From these findings, the action mode of alkyl p-coumarates as an anti-cancer agent is discussed.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Antineoplastic Agents, Phytogenic / pharmacology*
  • Apoptosis / drug effects
  • Cell Cycle / drug effects
  • Cell Proliferation / drug effects*
  • Colonic Neoplasms / enzymology*
  • Colonic Neoplasms / genetics
  • Colonic Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Coumaric Acids / pharmacology*
  • DNA Topoisomerases, Type I / metabolism*
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • HCT116 Cells
  • Humans
  • Inhibitory Concentration 50
  • Time Factors
  • Topoisomerase Inhibitors / pharmacology*
  • Tumor Suppressor Protein p53 / genetics
  • Tumor Suppressor Protein p53 / metabolism


  • Antineoplastic Agents, Phytogenic
  • Coumaric Acids
  • TP53 protein, human
  • Topoisomerase Inhibitors
  • Tumor Suppressor Protein p53
  • docosyl 4-coumarate
  • DNA Topoisomerases, Type I