The synthetic caged Garcinia xanthone cluvenone induces cell stress and apoptosis and has immune modulatory activity

Ayse Batova*, Diego Altomare, Oraphin Chantarasriwong, Kari L. Ohlsen, Kim E. Creek, You Chin Lin, Amy Messersmith, Alice L. Yu, John Yu, Emmanuel A. Theodorakis

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal Article peer-review

23 Scopus citations


Several caged Garcinia xanthone natural products have potent bioactivity and a documented value in traditional Eastern medicine. Previous synthesis and structure activity relationship studies of these natural products resulted in the identification of the pharmacophore represented by the structure of cluvenone. In the current study, we examined the anticancer activity of cluvenone and conducted gene expression profiling and pathway analyses. Cluvenone was found to induce apoptosis in T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia cells (EC50 = 0.25 μmol/L) and had potent growth-inhibitory activity against the NCI60 cell panel, including those that are multidrug-resistant, with a GI50 range of 0.1 to 2.7 μmol/L. Importantly, cluvenone was approximately 5-fold more potent against a primary B-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia compared with peripheral blood mononuclear cells from normal donors, suggesting that it has significant tumor selectivity. Comparison of cluvenone's growth-inhibitory profile to those in the National Cancer Institute database revealed that compounds with a similar profile to cluvenone were mechanistically unlike known agents, but were associated with cell stress and survival signaling. Gene expression profiling studies determined that cluvenone induced the activation of mitogen-activated protein kinase and NrF2 stress response pathways. Furthermore, cluvenone was found to induce intracellular reactive oxygen species formation. Lastly, the modulation in the expression of several genes associated with T cell and natural killer cell activation and function by cluvenone suggests a role as an immune-modulator. The current work highlights the potential of cluvenone as a chemotherapeutic agent and provides support for further investigation of these intriguing molecules with regard to mechanism and targets.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2869-2878
Number of pages10
JournalMolecular Cancer Therapeutics
Issue number11
StatePublished - 11 2010
Externally publishedYes


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