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Open AccessReview

Synthesis and Anticancer Activity of CDDO and CDDO-Me, Two Derivatives of Natural Triterpenoids

1
Department of Life Sciences, University of Modena and Reggio Emilia, 41125 Modena, Italy
2
Department of Medical and Surgical Sciences of Children and Adults, University of Modena and Reggio Emilia, 41125 Modena, Italy
3
Department of Surgery, Medicine, Dentistry and Morphological Sciences, University of Modena and Reggio Emilia, 41125 Modena, Italy
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Molecules 2019, 24(22), 4097; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules24224097
Received: 26 September 2019 / Revised: 25 October 2019 / Accepted: 10 November 2019 / Published: 13 November 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Synthesis, Study and Utilization of Natural Products)
Triterpenoids are natural compounds synthesized by plants through cyclization of squalene, known for their weak anti-inflammatory activity. 2-cyano-3,12-dioxooleana-1,9(11)-dien-28-oic acid (CDDO), and its C28 modified derivative, methyl-ester (CDDO-Me, also known as bardoxolone methyl), are two synthetic derivatives of oleanolic acid, synthesized more than 20 years ago, in an attempt to enhance the anti-inflammatory behavior of the natural compound. These molecules have been extensively investigated for their strong ability to exert antiproliferative, antiangiogenic, and antimetastatic activities, and to induce apoptosis and differentiation in cancer cells. Here, we discuss the chemical properties of natural triterpenoids, the pathways of synthesis and the biological effects of CDDO and its derivative CDDO-Me. At nanomolar doses, CDDO and CDDO-Me have been shown to protect cells and tissues from oxidative stress by increasing the transcriptional activity of the nuclear factor (erythroid-derived 2)-like 2 (Nrf2). At doses higher than 100 nM, CDDO and CDDO-Me are able to modulate the differentiation of a variety of cell types, both tumor cell lines or primary culture cell, while at micromolar doses these compounds exert an anticancer effect in multiple manners; by inducing extrinsic or intrinsic apoptotic pathways, or autophagic cell death, by inhibiting telomerase activity, by disrupting mitochondrial functions through Lon protease inhibition, and by blocking the deubiquitylating enzyme USP7. CDDO-Me demonstrated its efficacy as anticancer drugs in different mouse models, and versus several types of cancer. Several clinical trials have been started in humans for evaluating CDDO-Me efficacy as anticancer and anti-inflammatory drug; despite promising results, significant increase in heart failure events represented an obstacle for the clinical use of CDDO-Me. View Full-Text
Keywords: triterpenoids; bardoxolone methyl; anticancer drug; mitochondria triterpenoids; bardoxolone methyl; anticancer drug; mitochondria
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Borella, R.; Forti, L.; Gibellini, L.; De Gaetano, A.; De Biasi, S.; Nasi, M.; Cossarizza, A.; Pinti, M. Synthesis and Anticancer Activity of CDDO and CDDO-Me, Two Derivatives of Natural Triterpenoids. Molecules 2019, 24, 4097.

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