RN1, a novel galectin-3 inhibitor, inhibits pancreatic cancer cell growthin vitroandin vivovia blocking galectin-3 associated signaling pathways

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Galectin-3 (Gal-3) has been implicated in pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC), and its candidacy as a therapeutic target has been evaluated. Gal-3 is widely upregulated in tumors, and its expression is associated with the development and malignancy of PDAC. In the present study, we demonstrate that a polysaccharide, RN1, purified from the flower of Panax notoginseng binds to Gal-3 and suppresses its expression. In addition, RN1 markedly inhibits PDAC cells growth in vitro, in vivo and in patient-derived xenografts. Mechanistically, RN1 binds to epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) and Gal-3, thereby disrupting the interaction between Gal-3 and EGFR and downregulating extracellular-related kinase (ERK) phosphorylation and the transcription factor of Gal-3, Runx1 expression. Inhibiting the expression of Runx1 by RN1, suppresses Gal-3 expression and inactivates Gal-3-associated signaling pathways, including the EGFR/ERK/Runx1, BMP/smad/Id-3 and integrin/FAK/JNK signaling pathways. In addition, RN1 can also bind to bone morphogenetic protein receptors (BMPR1A and BMPR2) and block the interaction between Gal-3 and the BMPRs. Thus, our results suggest that a novel Gal-3 inhibitor RN1 may be a potential candidate for human PDAC treatment via multiple targets and multiple signaling pathways.

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