MC37, a new mono-carbonyl curcumin analog, induces G2/M cell cycle arrest and mitochondria-mediated apoptosis in human colorectal cancer cells

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(E)−1-(3′-fluoro-[1,1′-biphenyl-3-yl)−3-(3-hydroxy-4-methoxyphenyl)prop-2-en-1-one) (MC37), a novel mono-carbonyl curcumin analog, was previously synthesized in our laboratory as a nuclear factor kappa B (NF-κB) inhibitor with excellent cytotoxicity against several cancer cell lines. In this study, our further investigations showed that the potent growth inhibitory activity of MC37 in human colorectal cancer cells was associated with the arrest of cell cycle progression and the induction of apoptosis. As a multi-targeted agent, MC37 inhibited the intracellular microtubule assembly, altered the expression of cyclin-dependent kinase 1 (CDK1), and ultimately induced G2/M cell cycle arrest. Moreover, MC37 collapsed the mitochondrial membrane potential (MMP), increased the Bax/Bcl-2 ratio, activated the caspase-9/3 cascade, and finally led to cancer cells apoptosis, suggesting that the mitochondrial-mediated apoptotic pathway was involved in MC37-induced apoptosis. In conclusion, these observations demonstrated that mono-carbonyl curcumin analogs would serve as multi-targeted lead for promising anti-colorectal cancer agent development.

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