Bisdemethoxycurcumin exerts pro-apoptotic effects in human pancreatic adenocarcinoma cells through mitochondrial dysfunction and a GRP78-dependent pathway.
Oncotarget. 2016 Nov 10. Epub 2016 Nov 10. PMID: 27845899
Pancreatic cancer is a highly aggressive malignancy, which is intrinsically resistant to current chemotherapies. Herein, we investigate whether bisdemethoxycurcumin (BDMC), a derivative of curcumin, potentiates gemcitabine in human pancreatic cancer cells. The result suggests that BDMC sensitizes gemcitabine by inducing mitochondrial dysfunctions and apoptosis in PANC-1 and MiaPaCa-2 pancreatic cancer cells. Utilizing two-dimensional gel electrophoresis and mass spectrometry, we identify 13 essential proteins with significantly altered expressions in response to gemcitabine alone or combined with BDMC. Protein-protein interaction network analysis pinpoints glucose-regulated protein 78 (GRP78) as the key hub activated by BDMC. We then reveal that BDMC upregulates GRP78 and facilitates apoptosis through eIF2α/CHOP pathway. Moreover, DJ-1 and prohibitin, two identified markers of chemoresistance, are increased by gemcitabine in PANC-1 cells. This could be meaningfully reversed by BDMC, suggesting that BDMC partially offsets the chemoresistance induced by gemcitabine. In summary, these findings show that BDMC promotes apoptosis through a GRP78-dependent pathway and mitochondrial dysfunctions, and potentiates the antitumor effect of gemcitabine in human pancreatic cancer cells.