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Cancer cells have both tumor-adaptive and -suppressive endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress machineries that determine cell fate. In malignant tumors including lymphoma, constant activation of tumor-adaptive ER stress and concurrent reduction of tumor-suppressive ER stress favors cancer cell proliferation and tumor growth. Current ER stress-based anti-tumor drugs typically activate both tumor-adaptive and -suppressive ER stresses, resulting in low anti-cancer efficacy; hence, selective induction of tumor-suppressive ER stress and inhibition of tumor-adaptive ER stress are new strategies for novel anti-cancer drug discovery. Thus far, specific tumor-suppressive ER stress therapeutics have remained absent in clinical settings. In this study, we explored unique tumor-suppressive ER stress agents from the traditional Chinese medicinal herb Oroxylum indicum, and found that a small molecule oroxin B selectively induced tumor-suppressive ER stress in malignant lymphoma cells, but not in normal cells, effectively inhibited lymphoma growth in vivo, and significantly prolonged overall survival of lymphoma-xenografted mice without obvious toxicity. Mechanistic studies have revealed that the expression of key tumor-adaptive ER-stress gene GRP78 was notably suppressed by oroxin B via down-regulation of up-stream key signaling protein ATF6, while tumor-suppressive ER stress master gene DDIT3 was strikingly activated through activating the MKK3-p38 signaling pathway, correcting the imbalance between tumor-suppressive DDIT3 and tumor-adaptive GRP78 in lymphoma. Together, selective induction of unique tumor-suppressive ER stress and concurrent inhibition of tumor-adaptive ER stress in malignant lymphoma are new and feasible approaches for novel anti-lymphoma drug discovery and anti-lymphoma therapy. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


Ping Yang, Shilong Fu, Zhifei Cao, Huaidong Liao, Zihe Huo, Yanyan Pan, Gaochuan Zhang, Aidi Gao, Quansheng Zhou. Oroxin B selectively induces tumor-suppressive ER stress and concurrently inhibits tumor-adaptive ER stress in B-lymphoma cells for effective anti-lymphoma therapy. Toxicology and applied pharmacology. 2015 Oct 15;288(2):269-79

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PMID: 26253462

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