Mol Med Rep 2019 Sep 15;20(3):2571-2582. Epub 2019 Jul 15.
Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, College of Life Science and Technology, Heilongjiang Bayi Agricultural University, Daqing, Heilongjiang 163319, P.R. China.
1,4‑Naphthoquinone derivatives have superior anticancer effects, but their use has been severely limited in clinical practice due to adverse side effects. To reduce the side effects and extend the anticancer effects of 1,4‑naphthoquinone derivatives, 2‑(butane‑1‑sulfinyl)‑1,4‑naphthoquinone (BQ) and 2‑(octane‑1‑sulfinyl)‑1,4‑naphthoquinone (OQ) were synthesized, and their anticancer activities were investigated. The anti‑proliferation effects, determined by MTT assays, showed that BQ and OQ significantly inhibited the viability of gastric cancer cells and had no significant cytotoxic effect on normal cell lines. The apoptotic effect was determined by flow cytometry, and the results showed that BQ and OQ induced cell apoptosis by regulating the mitochondrial pathway and cell cycle arrest at the G2/M phase via inhibition of the Akt signaling pathway in AGS cells. Furthermore, BQ and OQ significantly increased the levels of reactive oxygen species (ROS) and this effect was blocked by the ROS scavenger NAC in AGS cells. BQ and OQ induced apoptosis by upregulating the protein expression of p38 and JNK and downregulating the levels of ERK and STAT3. Furthermore, expression levels of these proteins were also blocked after NAC treatment. These results demonstrated that BQ and OQ induced apoptosis and cell cycle arrest at the G2/M phase in AGS cells by stimulating ROS generation, which caused subsequent activation of MAPK, Akt and STAT3 signaling pathways. Thus, BQ and OQ may serve as potential therapeutic agents for the treatment of human gastric cancer.