The disruption of the β-catenin/TCF-1/STAT3 signaling axis by 4-acetylantroquinonol b inhibits the tumorigenesis and cancer stem-cell-like properties of glioblastoma cells, in vitro and in vivo

Heng Wei Liu, Yu-Kai Su, Oluwaseun Adebayo Bamodu, Dueng Yuan Hueng, Wei Hwa Lee, Chun Chih Huang, Li Deng, Michael Hsiao, Ming Hsien Chien, Chi Tai Yeh, Chien Min Lin

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Background: Glioblastoma (GBM), a malignant form of glioma, is characterized by resistance to therapy and poor prognosis. Accumulating evidence shows that the initiation, propagation, and recurrence of GBM is attributable to the presence of GBM stem cells (GBM-CSCs). Experimental approach: Herein, we investigated the effect of 4-Acetylantroquinonol B (4-AAQB), a bioactive isolate of Antrodia cinnamomea, on GBM cell viability, oncogenic, and CSCs-like activities. Results: We observed that aberrant expression of catenin is characteristic of GBM, compared to other glioma types (p = 0.0001, log-rank test = 475.2), and correlates with poor prognosis of GBM patients. Lower grade glioma and glioblastoma patients (n = 1152) with low catenin expression had 25% and 21.5% better overall survival than those with high catenin expression at the 5 and 10-year time-points, respectively (p = 3.57e-11, log-rank test = 43.8). Immunohistochemistry demonstrated that compared with adjacent non-tumor brain tissue, primary and recurrent GBM exhibited enhanced catenin expression (~10-fold, p < 0.001). Western blot analysis showed that 4-AAQB significantly downregulated β-catenin and dysregulated the catenin/LEF1/Stat3 signaling axis in U87MG and DBTRG-05MG cells, dose-dependently. 4-AAQB–induced downregulation of catenin positively correlated with reduced Sox2 and Oct4 nuclear expression in the cells. Furthermore, 4-AAQB markedly reduced the viability of U87MG and DBTRG-05MG cells with 48 h IC50 of 9.2 M and 12.5 M, respectively, effectively inhibited the nuclear catenin, limited the migration and invasion of GBM cells, with concurrent downregulation of catenin, vimentin, and slug; similarly, colony and tumorsphere formation was significantly attenuated with reduced expression of c-Myc and KLF4 proteins. Conclusions: Summarily, we show for the first time that 4-AAQB suppresses the tumor-promoting catenin/LEF1/Stat3 signaling, and inhibited CSCs-induced oncogenic activities in GBM in vitro, with in vivo validation; thus projecting 4-AAQB as a potent therapeutic agent for anti-GBM target therapy.

Original languageEnglish
Article number491
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - Dec 1 2018



  • 4-AAQB
  • Cancer stem cell
  • Chemoresistance
  • Glioblastoma
  • Prognosis
  • Survival
  • β-catenin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research

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