This study demonstrates that pterostilbene is a novel potent RR inhibitor by targeting RRM2.


Am J Cancer Res. 2021 ;11(6):2975-2989. Epub 2021 Jun 15. PMID: 34249439

Abstract Title: 

Pterostilbene inhibits hepatocellular carcinoma proliferation and HBV replication by targeting ribonucleotide reductase M2 protein.


Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), one of the most deadly diseases all around the world. HBV infection is a causative factor of HCC and closely associated with HCC development. Ribonucleotide reductase (RR) is a key enzyme for cellular DNA synthesis and RR small subunit M2 (RRM2) is highly upregulated in HCC with poor survival rates. We have previously shown that HBV can activate the expression of RRM2 and the activity of RR enzyme for the viral DNA replication in host liver cells. Thus, RRM2 may be an important therapeutic target for HCC and HBV-related HCC. Pterostilbene, a natural plant component, potently inhibitedRR enzyme activity with the ICof about 0.62μM through interacting with RRM2 protein, which was much higher than current RRM2 inhibitory drugs. Pterostilbine inhibited cell proliferation with an MTT ICof about 20-40μM in various HCC cell lines, causing DNA synthesis inhibition, cell cycle arrest at S phase, and accordingly apoptosis. On the other hand, the compound significantly inhibited HBV DNA replication in HBV genome integrated and newly transfected HCC cells, and the ECfor inhibiting HBV replication was significantly lower than the ICfor inhibiting HCC proliferation. Notably, pterostilbene possessed a similar inhibitory activity in sorafenib and lamivudine resistant HCC cells. Moreover, the inhibitory effects of pterostilbine against HCC proliferation and HBV replication were significantly reversed by addition of dNTP precursors, suggesting that RR was the intracellular target of the compound. Finally, pterostilbine effectively inhibited HCC xenograft growth with a relatively low toxicity in nude mouse experiments. This study demonstrates that pterostilbene is a novel potent RR inhibitor by targeting RRM2. It can simultaneously inhibit HCC proliferation and HBV replication with a potential new use for treatment of HCC and HBV-related HCC.

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