5,5′-Dibromo-bis(3′-indolyl)methane induces Krüppel-like factor 4 and p21 in colon cancer cells

Dae Cho Sung, Sudhakar Chintharlapalli, Maen Abdelrahim, Sabitha Papineni, Shengxi Liu, Jingjing Guo, Ping Lei, Ala Abudayyeh, Stephen Safe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Bis(3′-indolyl)methane (DIM) is a metabolite of the phytochemical indole-3-carbinol, and both compounds exhibit a broad spectrum of anticancer activities. We have developed a series of synthetic symmetrical ring-substituted DIM analogues, including 5,5′-dibromoDIM, which are more potent than DIM as inhibitors of cancer cell and tumor growth. In colon cancer cells, 5,5′-dibromoDIM decreased cell proliferation and inhibited G 0-G1- to S-phase progression, and this was accompanied by induction of the cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitor p21 in HT-29 and RKO colon cancer cells. Mechanistic studies showed that induction of p21 in both RKO (p53 wild-type) and HT-29 (p53 mutant) cells by 5,5′-dibromoDIM was Krüppel-like factor 4 (KLF4) dependent, and induction of p53 in RKO cells was also KLF4 dependent. Analysis of the p21 promoter in p53-dependent RKO cells showed that 5,5′-dibromoDIM activated p21 gene expression through the proximal GC-rich sites 1 and 2, and chromatin immunoprecipitation assays showed that KLF4 and p53 bound to this region of the promoter, whereas in HT-29 cells unidentified upstream cis-elements were required for induction of p21. 5,5′-DibromoDIM (30 mg/kg/d) also inhibited tumor growth and induced p21 in athymic nude mice bearing RKO cells as xenografts, showing that ring-substituted DIM such as 5,5′-dibromoDIM represent a novel class of mechanism-based drugs for clinical treatment of colon cancer.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2109-2120
Number of pages12
JournalMolecular Cancer Therapeutics
Issue number7
StatePublished - 2008

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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