Colorectal cancer (CRC) is the world's second most common cause of cancer-related death. Novel treatments are still urgently needed. S100 calcium-binding protein A4 (S100A4) was demonstrated to be an anticancer therapeutic target. Herein, we found that higher S100A4 expression was associated with a poorer prognosis in publicly available cohorts and a Taiwanese CRC patient cohort. To identify repurposed S100A4 inhibitors, we mined the Connectivity Map (CMap) database for clinical drugs mimicking the S100A4-knockdown gene signature. Ingenol mebutate, derived from the sap of the plant Euphorbia peplus, is approved as a topical treatment for actinic keratosis. The CMap analysis predicted ingenol mebutate as a potent S100A4 inhibitor. Indeed, both messenger RNA and protein levels of S100A4 were attenuated by ingenol mebutate in human CRC cells. In addition, CRC cells with higher S100A4 expressions and/or the wild-type p53 gene were more sensitive to ingenol mebutate, and their migration and invasion were inhibited by ingenol mebutate. Therefore, our results suggest the repurposing of ingenol mebutate for treating CRC by targeting S100A4.
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