4-Methylcatechol-induced oxidative stress induces intrinsic apoptotic pathway in metastatic melanoma cells

Florastina Payton, Rumu Bose, William L. Alworth, Addanki P. Kumar, Rita Ghosh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


There has been a steady rise in fatalities associated with thick melanomas (>4 mm). Although understanding of the biology of the disease has improved, effective treatment strategies for patients with advanced metastatic melanoma remain elusive. Therefore, more intensive testing of agents with therapeutic potential are needed to improve survival of patients with metastatic malignant melanoma. We have tested the ability of 4-methylcatechol, a metabolite of quercetin; a naturally occurring compound that is commonly found in a variety of fruits for its potential as an anti-melanoma agent. Our results show that 4-methylcatechol inhibits proliferation of melanoma cells in culture while not affecting the growth of normal human epidermal melanocytes. Further, the ability of metastatic melanoma cells to form colonies on soft agar was also inhibited. 4-Methylcatechol caused the accumulation of cells in G2/M phase of the cell cycle and induced apoptosis. There was an increase in reactive oxygen species following treatment with 4-methylcatechol that led to apoptosis through the intrinsic mitochondrial pathway. Treatment also inhibited cell survival mediated by Akt, a key player in melanoma cell survival. Taken together our results suggest that 4-methylcatechol exhibits cytotoxicity towards metastatic malignant melanoma cells while sparing normal melanocytes and should be tested further as a potential drug candidate for malignant melanoma.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1211-1218
Number of pages8
JournalBiochemical Pharmacology
Issue number10
StatePublished - May 15 2011


  • 4-Methylcatechol
  • Apoptosis
  • Cell cycle arrest
  • Melanoma
  • Reactive oxygen species
  • Survival

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Pharmacology


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