Boswellic acid suppresses growth and metastasis of human pancreatic tumors in an orthotopic nude mouse model through modulation of multiple targets

PLoS One. 2011;6(10):e26943. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0026943. Epub 2011 Oct 31.

Abstract

Pancreatic cancer (PaCa) is one of the most lethal cancers, with an estimated 5-year survival of <5% even when patients are given the best treatment available. In addition, these treatments are often toxic and expensive, thus new agents which are safe, affordable and effective are urgently needed. We describe here the results of our study with acetyl-11-keto-β-boswellic acid (AKBA), an agent obtained from an Ayurvedic medicine, gum resin of Boswellia serrata. Whether AKBA has an activity against human PaCa, was examined in in vitro models and in an orthotopic nude mouse model of PaCa. We found that AKBA inhibited the proliferation of four different PaCa cell lines (AsPC-1, PANC-28, and MIA PaCa-2 with K-Ras and p53 mutations, and BxPC-3 with wild-type K-Ras and p53 mutation). These effects correlated with an inhibition of constitutively active NF-κB and suppression of NF-κB regulating gene expression. AKBA also induced apoptosis, and sensitized the cells to apoptotic effects of gemcitabine. In the orthotopic nude mouse model of PaCa, p.o. administration of AKBA alone (100 mg/kg) significantly inhibited the tumor growth; this activity was enhanced by gemcitabine. In addition, AKBA inhibited the metastasis of the PaCa to spleen, liver, and lungs. This correlated with decreases in Ki-67, a biomarker of proliferation, and CD31, a biomarker of microvessel density, in the tumor tissue. AKBA produced significant decreases in the expression of NF-κB regulating genes in the tissues. Immunohistochemical analysis also showed AKBA downregulated the expression of COX-2, MMP-9, CXCR4, and VEGF in the tissues. Overall these results demonstrate that AKBA can suppress the growth and metastasis of human pancreatic tumors in an orthotopic nude mouse model that correlates with modulation of multiple targets.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Apoptosis / drug effects
  • Biomarkers, Tumor / metabolism
  • Cell Proliferation / drug effects
  • Chromatography, High Pressure Liquid
  • Deoxycytidine / analogs & derivatives
  • Deoxycytidine / pharmacology
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Neoplastic / drug effects
  • Humans
  • Ki-67 Antigen / metabolism
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Nude
  • Molecular Targeted Therapy*
  • NF-kappa B / metabolism
  • Neoplasm Metastasis
  • Neovascularization, Pathologic / drug therapy
  • Neovascularization, Pathologic / pathology
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms / blood
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms / blood supply
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms / genetics
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Platelet Endothelial Cell Adhesion Molecule-1 / metabolism
  • Triterpenes / blood
  • Triterpenes / pharmacology*
  • Triterpenes / therapeutic use
  • Xenograft Model Antitumor Assays*

Substances

  • Biomarkers, Tumor
  • Ki-67 Antigen
  • NF-kappa B
  • Platelet Endothelial Cell Adhesion Molecule-1
  • Triterpenes
  • acetyl-11-ketoboswellic acid
  • Deoxycytidine
  • gemcitabine