J Cancer Prev.  2021 Sep;26(3):207-217. 10.15430/JCP.2021.26.3.207.

STAT3 as a Potential Target for Tumor Suppressive Effects of 15-Deoxy-Δ12,14-prostaglandin J2 in Triple Negative Breast Cancer

  • 1Research Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences, College of Pharmacy, Seoul National University, Seoul, Korea
  • 2Korea Chemical Bank, Korea Research Institute of Chemical Technology, Daejeon, Korea
  • 3Department of Molecular Medicine and Biopharmaceutical Sciences, Graduate School of Convergence Science, Seoul National University, Seoul, Korea
  • 4Cancer Research Institute, Seoul National University, Seoul, Korea


STAT3 plays a prominent role in proliferation and survival of tumor cells. Thus, STAT3 has been considered to be a prime target for development of anti-cancer therapeutics. The electrophilic cyclopentenone prostaglandin,15-deoxy-Δ12,14-prostaglandin J2 (15d-PGJ2 ) has been well recognized for its capability to modulate intracellular signaling pathways involved in cancer cell growth and progression. We previously reported that 15d-PGJ2 had potent cytotoxicity against harvey-ras transformed human mammary epithelial cells through direct interaction with STAT3. In this study, we have attempted to verify the inhibitory effects of 15d-PGJ2 on STAT3 signaling in human breast tumor cells. The triple negative breast cancer cell lines, MDA-MB-231 and MDA-MB-468 displaying constitutive phosphorylation of STAT3 on the tyrosine 705 (Tyr705) residue, underwent apoptosis upon inhibition of STAT3 by 15d-PGJ2 . In contrast, estrogen receptor positive MCF-7 breast cancer cells that do not exhibit elevated STAT3 phosphorylation were much less susceptible to 15d-PGJ2 -induced apoptosis as assessed by PARP cleavage. Furthermore, 15d-PGJ2 inhibited interleukin-6-induced tyrosine phosphorylation of STAT3 in LNCaP cells. According to molecular docking studies, 15d-PGJ2 may preferentially bind to the cysteine 259 residue (Cys259) present in the coiled-coil domain of STAT3. Site-directed mutagenesis of STAT3 identified Cys259 to be the critical amino acid for the 15d-PGJ2 -induced apoptosis as well as epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition. Taken together, these findings suggest STAT3 inactivation through direct chemical modification of its Cys259 as a potential therapeutic approach for treatment of triple negative breast cancer treatment.


Breast neoplasms; Cyclopentenone prostaglandin; 15-Deoxy-Δ12,14-prostaglandin J2; STAT3
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