Discovering Vitekwangin B, a new ANO1 modulator with anticancer potential

Cancer continues to be a major challenge in healthcare. Its complex nature, coupled with the ability of various cancer types to resist existing treatments, has led to a relentless search for new anticancer drugs, with researchers looking everywhere, including nature, for potential solutions.

A recent study has introduced new data to this search, highlighting the potential anticancer properties of a novel natural compound, vitekwangin B, derived from the fruits of the Vitex trifolia plant, traditionally used in herbal remedies. More specifically, vitekwangin B has been investigated for its impact on cancer cell biology, particularly in the context of prostate cancer and non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC).

The study focused on the compound’s ability to modulate anoctamin1 (ANO1) protein levels within cancer cells. ANO1, also known as transmembrane protein 16A, is a calcium-activated chloride channel that is upregulated in various cancer cells and contributes to cancer progression. Previous in vitro and in vivo studies have shown that pharmacological downregulation of ANO1 significantly inhibits cancer cell proliferation, growth, and migration. Various known ANO1 inhibitors, such as diethylstilbestrol and luteolin, affect both channel function and protein levels and, in this way, effectively suppress cancer cell proliferation and migration.

In contrast to these known inhibitors, vitekwangin B significantly reduced ANO1 protein levels without blocking the ANO1 channel function. This action correlated with reduced viability and increased apoptosis in prostate cancer and NSCLC.

These findings are particularly important because prostate cancer and NSCLC often resist current treatments. Hormone therapies and EGFR tyrosine kinase inhibitors, while effective for some, don’t work for all patients and can lead to drug resistance. The authors suggest that reducing ANO1 protein levels without rapidly affecting its channel function, as observed with vitekwangin B, could be advantageous for cancer treatment and potentially help overcome resistance to existing anticancer drugs in prostate and lung cancers.

Moreover, vitekwangin B’s minimal toxicity to liver cells and its lack of effect on hERG channel activity, as revealed by Patchliner automated patch clamp studies, underscore its potential as a safer option for cancer treatment. These characteristics distinguish vitekwangin B from other ANO1 inhibitors, which often come with significant side effects, such as hypotension, constipation, and dry mouth syndrome.

Further research is necessary to fully determine the therapeutic potential of vitekwangin B in cancer treatment.

For more details, please refer to the paper here:



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