Gastric cancer (GC) is one of the major public health problems worldwide with high morbidity and mortality. Nowadays, traditional medicine may hold promise for the treatment of cancers. Gossypol-acetic acid (GAA) is a male contraceptive agent that shows anti-tumor effects on multiple types of cancers. However, whether GAA would inhibit the progression of GC remained unclear.
The potential targets of GAA were predicted by the Pharmmapper software and GC-related genes were obtained from the GeneCard database. The “GC-targets-GAA” network was constructed using the Cytoscape software. The PPI analysis of intersection genes was performed using the String software. The Gene Ontology (GO) and Kyoto Encyclopedia of Genes and Genomes (KEGG) pathway analyses were performed using the DAVID software to explore the potential mechanism underlying the regulatory role of GAA in GC. The MTS test, plate cloning test, cell cycle and apoptosis assays were used to verify the function of GAA in GC.
Ten hub genes related to cell cycle progression and apoptosis were identified. Many cancer-related signaling pathways were visualized by the Cytoscape software. Among them, the PI3K-Akt signaling pathway was the highest-ranked pathway. The MTS test and plate cloning test showed that GAA inhibited the proliferation of GC cells. The cell cycle and apoptosis assays showed that GAA induced G1 phase cell cycle arrest and apoptosis in GC cells.
Our study demonstrated the anti-tumor effect of GAA on GC through multiple targets and signaling pathways. These results provided a theoretical basis for further investigation of GAA in preclinical and clinical studies, and suggested the potential use of GAA as a novel therapeutic agent for the treatment of GC.