The marine-derived sipholenol A-4-O-3',4'-dichlorobenzoate inhibits breast cancer growth and motility in vitro and in vivo through the suppression of Brk and FAK signaling

Mar Drugs. 2014 Apr 14;12(4):2282-304. doi: 10.3390/md12042282.


Sipholenol A is a natural sipholane triterpenoid isolated from the Red Sea sponge, Callyspongia siphonella. Previous studies showed the antimigratory and antiproliferative activities of the semisynthetic sipholenol A esters against breast cancer cell lines. This study investigated the effects of sipholenol A-4-O-3',4'-dichlorobenzoate (SPA) on the growth, migration and invasion of diverse human breast cancer cells. Results showed that SPA inhibited the growth of the human breast cancer cells, MDA-MB-231, MCF-7, BT-474 and T-47D, in a dose-dependent manner. Immunofluorescent analysis showed that SPA significantly reduced Ki-67-positive cells in MDA-MB-231 cells. Flow cytometry and Western blot analyses revealed that SPA treatment suppressed MDA-MB-231 cell growth by inducing cell cycle arrest at the G1 phase. In addition, SPA suppressed breast cancer cell migration, invasion and decreased Brk and FAK activation in a dose-dependent manner. Molecular docking study suggested a perfect fitting at the FAK's FERM domain, inhibiting the main autophosphorylation site, Y397, which was further confirmed by Western blot analysis. Most known small molecule FAK inhibitors target the kinase domain, creating several off-target side effects. The in vivo studies showed that SPA treatment suppressed breast tumor growth and Ki-67, CD31, p-Brk and p-FAK expression in orthotopic breast cancer in nude mice. In conclusion, SPA inhibited the growth, invasion and migration of breast cancer cells possibly via deactivating Brk and FAK signaling, suggesting good potential for therapeutic use to control invasive breast cancer.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antineoplastic Agents / chemistry
  • Antineoplastic Agents / isolation & purification
  • Antineoplastic Agents / pharmacology*
  • Blotting, Western
  • Breast Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Breast Neoplasms / pathology
  • Callyspongia / chemistry*
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Cell Movement / drug effects
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Female
  • Flow Cytometry
  • G1 Phase Cell Cycle Checkpoints / drug effects
  • Humans
  • Mice
  • Mice, Nude
  • Molecular Docking Simulation
  • Neoplasm Invasiveness / prevention & control
  • Signal Transduction / drug effects
  • Triterpenes / chemistry
  • Triterpenes / isolation & purification
  • Triterpenes / pharmacology*


  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Triterpenes
  • sipholenol A