GW627368X inhibits proliferation and induces apoptosis in cervical cancer by interfering with EP4/EGFR interactive signaling

S. Parida, I. Pal, A. Parekh, B. Thakur, R. Bharti, S. Das, M. Mandal

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


PGE2, the major product of cyclooxygenases implicated in carcinogenesis, is significantly upregulated in cervical cancer. PGE2 via prostanoid receptor EP4 stimulates proliferation and motility while inhibiting apoptosis and immune surveillance. It promotes angiogenesis by stimulating the production of pro-angiogenic factors. The present study demonstrates GW627368X, a highly selective competitive EP4 antagonist, which hinders cervical cancer progression by inhibiting EP4/epithelial growth factor receptor (EGFR) interactive signaling. GW627368X reduced protein kinase A (PKA) phosphorylation which in turn leads to decreased cAMP response element-binding protein (CREB) activation. Decreased PKA phosphorylation also directly enhanced Bax activity and in part reduced glycogen synthase kinase 3 (GSK3)β phosphorylation. Owing to the interactive signaling between EP4 and EGFR, GW627368X lowered EGFR phosphorylation in turn reducing Akt, mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) and GSK3β activity significantly. Sublethal dose of GW627368X was found to reduce the nuclear translocation of β-catenin in a time dependent manner along with time-dependent decrease in cytoplasmic as well as whole-cell β-catenin. Decreased CREB and β-catenin transcriptional activity restricts the aberrant transcription of key genes like EP4, cyclooxygenase (COX)-2, vascular endothelial growth factor and c-myc, which ultimately control cell survival, proliferation and angiogenesis. Reduced activity of EGFR resulted in enhanced expression of 15-hydroxyprostaglandin dehydrogenase increasing PGE2 degradation thereby blocking a positive feedback loop. In xenograft model, dose-dependent decrease in cancer proliferation was observed characterized by reduction in tumor mass and volume and a marked decrease in Ki67 expression. A diminished CD31 specific staining signified decreased tumor angiogenesis. Reduced expression of pAkt, pMAPK, pEGFR and COX-2 validated in vitro results. GW627368X therefore effectively inhibits tumor survival, motility, proliferation and angiogenesis by blocking EP4/EGFR interactive signaling. EP4 is a potent therapeutic target in cervical cancer and can be explored in combination with conventional therapies to attain superior outcomes and to overcome complications associated with organ toxicities, therapeutic resistance and disease relapse.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere2154
JournalCell Death and Disease
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2016
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience
  • Cell Biology
  • Cancer Research


Dive into the research topics of 'GW627368X inhibits proliferation and induces apoptosis in cervical cancer by interfering with EP4/EGFR interactive signaling'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this