Background: Despite recent advances in the treatment of squamous cell skin cancer (SCSC), the disease persists, and treatment resistance develops. Thus, identifying new targets and developing new therapeutic approaches showing low vulnerability to drug resistance is highly needed. Purpose: This study aimed to reveal a novel targeted phytotherapeutic strategy for SCSC treatment alone or in combination with standard targeted anticancer molecules. Study design: A library of natural products was utilized to identify molecules that inhibit the growth of skin cancer cells. The anticancer potential of the selected compound was evaluated in human skin squamous carcinoma models, in vitro and in vivo. A comprehensive ingenuity pathway analysis (IPA) strategy and molecular biology technology was adopted to investigate the therapeutic mechanisms in human SCSC. Methods: The Matrigel invasion chamber, foci formation and soft agar colony formation assays were employed to study the cells invasion and migration potential in vitro. In vivo antitumor effects were evaluated in DMBA/TPA-induced skin papilloma and A431 human skin squamous carcinoma xenograft tumor models. An integrative IPA was employed to identify mechanisms and protein targets in human SCSC.Compounds synergies were determined by the bliss model and evaluated using human SCSC cell lines and xenograft tumors. Histological staining, immunofluorescence imaging, real-time PCR, Western blots, and flow cytometric analyses were employed to analyze apoptosis and cell signaling mechanisms. Results: We identified (+)-cyanidan-3-ol (CD-3) as a selective compound for inhibiting the growth of SCSC cell lines. CD-3 inhibited tumor growth and burden without apparent toxicity and prolonged the survival of tumor-bearing mice. CD-3 inhibitory effects on SCSC growth are mediated via cell cycle arrest and caspase-dependent apoptosis induction. Mechanistic studies showed that CD-3 activates PP2A via inhibiting CIP2A and produces tumor growth inhibitory effects via promoting dephosphorylation of oncogenic AKT/mTOR signaling proteins in SCSC cells and xenograft tumors in a PP2A dependent manner. Furthermore, the combination of CD-3 and mTOR inhibitors (mTORi) synergistically reduced oncogenic phenotypes. Conclusions: Our study suggests that PP2A activation is an effective strategy for SCSC treatment and the CD-3 and mTORi combination may serve as a promising treatment for SCSC.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Molecular Medicine
- Pharmaceutical Science
- Drug Discovery
- Complementary and alternative medicine