Tumor Biology

, Volume 37, Issue 5, pp 6227–6238 | Cite as

13-Oxyingenol dodecanoate, a cytotoxic ingenol derivative, induces mitochondrial apoptosis and caspase-dependent Akt decrease in K562 cells

  • Ming Liu
  • Weiyi Zhang
  • Genzhu Wang
  • Xiaoping Song
  • Xingzeng Zhao
  • Xiangyun Wang
  • Xin Qi
  • Jing LiEmail author
Original Article


13-Oxyingenol dodecanoate (13OD) is an ingenol derivative prepared from Chinese traditional medicine Euphorbia kansui without any report about its bioactivity. The present study demonstrated for the first time that 13OD displayed potent cytotoxicity against chronic myeloid leukemia K562 cells in vitro. 13OD inhibited proliferation, induced G2/M phase arrest, and exhibited potent apoptotic activity in K562 cells. In K562 cells, 13OD disrupted the mitochondrial membrane potential and induced high level of ROS, which played an indispensable role in 13OD-induced apoptosis. Further investigations on the molecular mechanisms revealed that total Akt protein level was decreased in a caspase-dependent way after treatment with 13OD; in addition, ERK was activated by 13OD, and this activation played a protective role in 13OD stimulation. Altogether, these results revealed that the cytotoxic ingenol derivative 13OD induced apoptosis with novel mechanisms for the proapoptotic function in cancer cells, and suggested that 13OD may serve as a lead template for rational drug design and for future anticancer agent development.


13-Oxyingenol dodecanoate Apoptosis Euphorbia kansui mTOR Akt 



This work was supported by the NSFC-Shandong Joint Fund (No. U1406402), the Natural Science Foundation of China (No. 81373323), the Natural Science Foundation of the Shandong Province (No. ZR2012CM005, No. ZR2015HM010), and the Young Talent Project at Ocean University of China (No. 201412007).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflicts of interest



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Copyright information

© International Society of Oncology and BioMarkers (ISOBM) 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ming Liu
    • 1
  • Weiyi Zhang
    • 1
  • Genzhu Wang
    • 1
  • Xiaoping Song
    • 1
  • Xingzeng Zhao
    • 2
  • Xiangyun Wang
    • 3
  • Xin Qi
    • 1
  • Jing Li
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Key Laboratory of Marine Drugs, Ministry of Education, School of Medicine and PharmacyOcean University of ChinaQingdaoChina
  2. 2.Institute of BotanyJiangsu Province and Chinese Academy of Sciences (Nanjing Botanical Garden, Mem. Sun Yat-sen)NanjingChina
  3. 3.Nanjing Spring & Autumn Biological Engineering Co., Ltd, ChinaNanjingChina

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