Methyl 2-cyano-3,11-dioxo-18β-olean-1,12-dien-30-oate (CDODA-Me) and the corresponding 2-trifluoromethyl analog (CF(3)DODA-Me) are derived synthetically from the triterpenoid glycyrrhetinic acid, a major component of licorice. CDODA-Me and CF(3)DODA-Me inhibited growth of highly invasive ARO, DRO, K-18, and HTh-74 thyroid cancer cells and this was due, in part, to decreased expression of specificity protein (Sp) transcription factors Sp1, Sp3, and Sp4 that are overexpressed in these cells. CDODA-Me and CF(3)DODA-Me also decreased expression of Sp-dependent genes, such as survivin and vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), and induced apoptosis. In addition, pituitary tumor-transforming gene-1 (PTTG-1) protein and mRNA levels were also decreased in thyroid cancer cells treated with CDODA-Me or CF(3)DODA-Me and this was accompanied by decreased expression of PTTG-1-dependent c-Myc and fibroblast growth factor-2 (FGF-2) genes. RNA interference studies against Sp1, Sp3, and Sp4 proteins showed that in thyroid cancer cells, PTTG-1 was an Sp-dependent gene. This study demonstrates for the first time that drugs, such as CDODA-Me and CF(3)DODA-Me, that decrease Sp protein expression also downregulate PTTG-1 in thyroid cancer cells and therefore have potential for clinical treatment of thyroid cancer and other endocrine neoplasias where PTTG-1 is a major pro-oncogenic factor.
Copyright © 2011 Wiley-Liss, Inc.