1,1-Bis (3′-indolyl)-1-(p-substituted phenyl)methanes (C-DIMs) activate the orphan receptors peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor γ (PPARγ) and Nur77 and induce receptor-dependent and -independent apoptotic pathways in colon and other cancer cells. Structure-activity studies show that the p-bromo (DIM-C-pPhBr) and p-fluoro (DIM-C-pPhF) analogs, which exhibit minimal activation of Nur77 and PPARγ, induce expression of CCAAT/enhancer-binding protein homologous protein (CHOP/GADD153) in colon cancer cells. Moreover, among a series of bromo and fluoro C-DIM analogs, their induction of CHOP was dependent on the position of the phenyl substituents (para ≥ meta ≥ ortho) and required a free indole group. DIM-C-pPhBr and DIM-C-pPhF not only induced CHOP but also activated death receptor 5 (CHOP dependent), cleavage of caspase 8 and poly (ADP ribose) polymerase (PARP) that is consistent with activation of the extrinsic pathway of apoptosis. These responses were associated with the activation of c-jun N-terminal kinase (JNK) pathway since inhibition of JNK inhibited induction of the extrinsic apoptotic pathway by these C-DIMs. However, in contrast to classical inducers of endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress such as tunicamycin and thapsigargin, the C-DIM compounds did not induce glucose-related protein 78 that is a marker of ER stress. Proapoptotic and anticarcinogenic effects were also observed in athymic nude mice bearing RKO cell xenografts and treated with 30 mg/kg/day DIM-C-pPhBr and this was accompanied by increased JNK phosphorylation in the tumors. Thus, the anticarcinogenic activity of DIM-C-pPhBr in colon cancer cells and tumors is related to a novel ER stress-independent activation of JNK.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cancer Research