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      Tamoxifen enhances the anticancer effect of cantharidin and norcantharidin in pancreatic cancer cell lines through inhibition of the protein kinase C signaling pathway

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          Cantharidin is an active constituent of mylabris, a traditional Chinese therapeutic agent. Cantharidin is a potent and selective inhibitor of protein phosphatase 2A (PP2A). Cantharidin has been previously reported to efficiently repress the growth of pancreatic cancer cells. However, excessively activated protein kinase C (PKC) has been shown to improve cell survival following the adminstration of cantharidin. Tamoxifen is widely used in the treatment of estrogen receptor-positive breast cancer. In addition, an increasing number of studies have found that tamoxifen selectively inhibits PKC and represses growth in estrogen receptor-negative cancer cells. Administration of a combination of PKC inhibitor and PP2A inhibitors has been demonstrated to exert a synergistic anticancer effect. The proliferation of pancreatic cancer cells was analyzed by 3-(4,5-dimethyltiazol-2-yl]2, 5-diphenyltetrazo-lium bromide assay. The expression levels of ERα and ERβ in various pancreatic cancer cell lines were determined by reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction. In addition, the protein levels of PKCα and phosphorylated PKCα in pancreatic cell lines were analyzed by western blot analysis. In the present study, tamoxifen was found to exert a cytotoxic effect against pancreatic cancer cells independent of the hormone receptor status. Tamoxifen repressed the phosphorylation of PKC, and amplified the anticancer effect induced by cantharidin and norcantharidin. The findings reveal a novel potential strategy against pancreatic cancer using co-treatment with tamoxifen plus cantharidin or cantharidin derivatives.

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          Most cited references 32

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          Recent progress in pancreatic cancer.

          Pancreatic cancer is currently one of the deadliest of the solid malignancies. However, surgery to resect neoplasms of the pancreas is safer and less invasive than ever, novel drug combinations have been shown to improve survival, advances in radiation therapy have resulted in less toxicity, and enormous strides have been made in the understanding of the fundamental genetics of pancreatic cancer. These advances provide hope but they also increase the complexity of caring for patients. It is clear that multidisciplinary care that provides comprehensive and coordinated evaluation and treatment is the most effective way to manage patients with pancreatic cancer. Copyright © 2013 American Cancer Society, Inc.
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            Regulation of protein kinase cascades by protein phosphatase 2A.

            Many protein kinases themselves are regulated by reversible phosphorylation. Upon cell stimulation, specific kinases are transiently phosphorylated and activated. Several of these protein kinases are substrates for protein phosphatase 2A (PP2A), and PP2A appears to be the major kinase phosphatase in eukaryotic cells that downregulates activated protein kinases. This idea is substantiated by the observation that some viral proteins and naturally occurring toxins target PP2A and modulate its activity. There is increasing evidence that PP2A activity is regulated by extracellular signals and during the cell cycle. Thus, PP2A is likely to play an important role in determining the activation kinetics of protein kinase cascades.
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              PP2A: the expected tumor suppressor.

              PP2A is one of the few serine/threonine-specific phosphatases in the cell, and its complex structure and regulation guarantees its many different functions. Some viruses have chosen to target this enzyme system in order to manage the host cell machinery for their own profit and to program cells into a malignant state. Suppression of PR61/B'gamma, a specific third regulatory subunit of PP2A, can substitute for the viral SV40 protein small t antigen in causing tumorigenic transformation of several human cell lines -- provided that telomerase, SV40 large T antigen and oncogenic Ras are also present. Accumulation of c-Myc seems to be the common denominator.

                Author and article information

                Oncol Lett
                Oncol Lett
                Oncology Letters
                D.A. Spandidos
                February 2015
                19 November 2014
                19 November 2014
                : 9
                : 2
                : 837-844
                [1 ]Department of Oncology, The First Affiliated Hospital of Soochow University, Suzhou, Jiangsu 215006, P.R. China
                [2 ]Department of Radiation Oncology, Affiliated Hospital of Xuzhou Medical College, Xuzhou, Jiangsu 221006, P.R. China
                [3 ]Department of Hematology, The First Affiliated Hospital of Soochow University, Suzhou, Jiangsu 215006, P.R. China
                [4 ]Jiangsu Institute of Hematology, The First Affiliated Hospital of Soochow University, Suzhou, Jiangsu 215006, P.R. China
                [5 ]Key Laboratory of Thrombosis and Hemostasis of Ministry of Health, The First Affiliated Hospital of Soochow University, Suzhou, Jiangsu 215006, P.R. China
                [6 ]Jiangsu Institute of Clinical Immunology, The First Affiliated Hospital of Soochow University, Suzhou, Jiangsu 215006, P.R. China
                Author notes
                Correspondence to: Dr Min Tao or Dr Wei Li, Department of Oncology, The First Affiliated Hospital of Soochow University, 188 Shizi Street, Suzhou, Jiangsu 215006, P.R. China, E-mail: mtao@ 123456medmail.com.cn , E-mail: liwei10@ 123456suda.edu.cn

                Contributed equally

                Copyright © 2015, Spandidos Publications

                This is an open-access article licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License. The article may be redistributed, reproduced, and reused for non-commercial purposes, provided the original source is properly cited.



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