4-Hydroxy-3-methoxybenzoic acid methyl ester: A curcumin derivative targets Akt/NFκB cell survival signaling pathway: Potential for prostate cancer management

Addanki P. Kumar, Gretchen E. Garcia, Rita Ghosh, Rajendran V. Rajnarayanan, William L. Alworth, Thomas J. Slaga

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

75 Scopus citations


Transcription factor NFκB and the serine/threonine kinase Akt play critical roles in mammalian cell survival signaling and have been shown to be activated in various malignancies including prostate cancer (PCA). We have developed an analogue of curcumin called 4-hydroxy-3-methoxybenzoic acid methyl ester (HMBME) that targets the Akt/NFκB signaling pathway. Here, we demonstrate the ability of this novel compound to inhibit the proliferation of human and mouse PCA cells. HMBME-induced apoptosis in these cells was tested by using multiple biochemical approaches, in addition to morphological analysis. Overexpression of constitutively active Akt reversed the HMBME-induced growth inhibition and apoptosis, illustrating the direct role of Akt signaling in HMBME-mediated growth inhibition and apoptosis. Further, investigation of the molecular events associated with its action in LNCaP cells shows that: 1) HMBME reduces the level of activated form of Akt (phosphorylated Akt); and 2) inhibits the Akt kinase activity. Further, the transcriptional activity of NFκB, the DNA-binding activity of NFκB, and levels of p65 were all significantly reduced following treatment with HMBME. Overexpression of constitutively active Akt, but not the kinase dead mutant of Akt, activated the basal NFκB transcriptional activity. HMBME treatment had no influence on this constitutively active Akt-augmented NFκB transcriptional activity. These data indicate that HMBME-mediated inhibition of Akt kinase activity may have a potential in suppressing/decreasing the activity of major survival/antiapoptotic pathways. The potential use of HMBME as an agent that targets survival mechanisms in PCA cells is discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)255-266
Number of pages12
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2003
Externally publishedYes


  • Akt kinase
  • Apoptosis
  • Cell survival
  • Curcumin derivative
  • Prostate cancer management

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cancer Research


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