Another facet to the anticancer response to lamellarin D: induction of cellular senescence through inhibition of topoisomerase I and intracellular Ros production

Mar Drugs. 2014 Jan 27;12(2):779-98. doi: 10.3390/md12020779.


Lamellarin D (LamD) is a marine alkaloid with broad spectrum antitumor activities. Multiple intracellular targets of LamD, which affect cancer cell growth and induce apoptosis, have been identified. These include nuclear topoisomerase I, relevant kinases (such as cyclin-dependent kinase 2) and the mitochondrial electron transport chain. While we have previously demonstrated that LamD at micromolar range deploys strong cytotoxicity by inducing mitochondrial apoptosis, mechanisms of its cytostatic effect have not yet been characterized. Here, we demonstrated that induction of cellular senescence (depicted by cell cycle arrest in G2 associated with β-galactosidase activity) is a common response to subtoxic concentrations of LamD. Cellular senescence is observed in a large panel of cancer cells following in vitro or in vivo exposure to LamD. The onset of cellular senescence is dependent on the presence of intact topoisomerase I since topoisomerase I-mutated cells are resistant to senescence induced by LamD. LamD-induced senescence occurs without important loss of telomere integrity. Instead, incubation with LamD results in the production of intracellular reactive oxygen species (ROS), which are critical for senescence as demonstrated by the inhibitory effect of antioxidants. In addition, cancer cells lacking mitochondrial DNA also exhibit cellular senescence upon LamD exposure indicating that LamD can trigger senescence, unlike apoptosis, in the absence of functional mitochondria. Overall, our results identify senescence-associated growth arrest as a powerful effect of LamD and add compelling evidence for the pharmacological interest of lamellarins as potential anticancer agents.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antineoplastic Agents / pharmacology*
  • Apoptosis / drug effects
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Cellular Senescence / drug effects*
  • Coumarins / pharmacology*
  • DNA Topoisomerases, Type I / drug effects*
  • DNA Topoisomerases, Type I / metabolism
  • DNA, Mitochondrial / metabolism
  • Female
  • G2 Phase Cell Cycle Checkpoints / drug effects
  • Heterocyclic Compounds, 4 or More Rings / pharmacology*
  • Humans
  • Isoquinolines / pharmacology*
  • Mice, SCID
  • Mitochondria / drug effects
  • Neoplasms / drug therapy
  • Neoplasms / pathology
  • Reactive Oxygen Species / metabolism
  • Telomere / metabolism
  • Topoisomerase Inhibitors / pharmacology


  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Coumarins
  • DNA, Mitochondrial
  • Heterocyclic Compounds, 4 or More Rings
  • Isoquinolines
  • Reactive Oxygen Species
  • Topoisomerase Inhibitors
  • lamellarin D
  • DNA Topoisomerases, Type I