Investigational New Drugs

, Volume 29, Issue 5, pp 777–785 | Cite as

A novel activity from an old compound: Manzamine A reduces the metastatic potential of AsPC-1 pancreatic cancer cells and sensitizes them to TRAIL-induced apoptosis

  • Esther A. GuzmánEmail author
  • Jacob D. Johnson
  • Patricia A. Linley
  • Sarath E. Gunasekera
  • Amy E. Wright


Purpose: Pancreatic cancer is the fourth leading cause of cancer death in the United States, and new drugs to treat the disease are needed. Pancreatic cancer cells are highly metastatic and exhibit resistance to apoptosis. Small molecules that can restore sensitivity to apoptosis or reduce metastasis would have therapeutic potential against this disease. Manzamine A is an alkaloid isolated from marine sponges that was suspected to have inhibitory activity against the mitogen activated kinase kinase (MEK). Because of this, the effects of Manzamine A were studied in pancreatic cancer cells. Methods: AsPC-1 cells were treated for 48 h in the presence of various concentrations of Manzamine A and their phenotype, cytotoxicity, cell invasion and susceptibility to apoptosis were observed. Results: Manzamine A decreased single cell formation, abrogated cell migration and restored the susceptibility of the cells to TRAIL-induced apoptosis in AsPC-1 cells. Its mechanism of action remains unknown, as manzamine A does not inhibit MEK. Conclusions: Manzamine A appears to have a formerly unrecognized activity in blocking tumor cell invasion as well as in restoring cancer cell susceptibility to apoptosis in vitro and therefore has the potential to be used as an adjuvant to existing cancer therapies.


Natural products Pancreatic cancer Drug discovery Mechanism of action 



Funding for this project was provided by NIH/NCI 1R01CA093455-01A1, the State of Florida Center of Excellence in Biomedical & Marine Biotechnology (COE-HRE07), and the Health Resources & Services Administration Center for Sustainable Use of Marine Resources (4C76HF00231-01-04).


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Esther A. Guzmán
    • 1
    Email author
  • Jacob D. Johnson
    • 1
  • Patricia A. Linley
    • 1
  • Sarath E. Gunasekera
    • 1
  • Amy E. Wright
    • 1
  1. 1.Center for Marine Biomedical and Biotechnology ResearchHarbor Branch Oceanographic Institute at Florida Atlantic UniversityFt. PierceUSA

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