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Furanoic Lipid F-6, A Novel Anti-Cancer Compound that Kills Cancer Cells by Suppressing Proliferation and Inducing Apoptosis

Department of Biological Sciences, Faculty of Science, Kuwait University, Safat 13060, Kuwait
Program in Translational Medicine, Peter Gilgan Centre for Research and Learning (PGCRL), The Hospital for Sick Children, Toronto, ON M5G 0A4, Canada
Department of Palliative, Rehabilitation and Integrative Medicine, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX 77030, USA
Zebrafish Centre for Advanced Drug Discovery & Keenan Research Centre for Biomedical Science, Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute, St. Michael’s Hospital, Unity Health Toronto, Toronto, ON M5B 1W8, Canada
Departments of Lab Medicine and Pathobiology, and Institute of Medical Sciences, Faculty of Medicine, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON M5G 0A4, Canada
Department of Zoology, CMS College, Kottayam 686001, India
Department of Pharmacology, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON M5S 1A8, Canada
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Contributed equally.
Cancers 2019, 11(7), 960;
Received: 22 May 2019 / Revised: 24 June 2019 / Accepted: 28 June 2019 / Published: 9 July 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Apoptosis in Cancer)
PDF [3640 KB, uploaded 9 July 2019]


Identifying novel anti-cancer drugs is important for devising better cancer treatment options. In a series of studies designed to identify novel therapeutic compounds, we recently showed that a C-20 fatty acid (12,15-epoxy-13,14-dimethyleicosa-12,14-dienoic acid, a furanoic acid or F-6) present in the lipid fraction of the secretions of the Arabian Gulf catfish skin (Arius bilineatus Val.; AGCS) robustly induces neutrophil extracellular trap formation. Here, we demonstrate that a lipid mix (Ft-3) extracted from AGCS and F-6, a component of Ft-3, dose dependently kill two cancer cell lines (leukemic K-562 and breast MDA MB-231). Pure F-6 is approximately 3.5 to 16 times more effective than Ft-3 in killing these cancer cells, respectively. Multiplex assays and network analyses show that F-6 promotes the activation of MAPKs such as Erk, JNK, and p38, and specifically suppresses JNK-mediated c-Jun activation necessary for AP-1-mediated cell survival pathways. In both cell lines, F-6 suppresses PI3K-Akt-mTOR pathway specific proteins, indicating that cell proliferation and Akt-mediated protection of mitochondrial stability are compromised by this treatment. Western blot analyses of cleaved caspase 3 (cCasp3) and poly ADP ribose polymerase (PARP) confirmed that F-6 dose-dependently induced apoptosis in both of these cell lines. In 14-day cell recovery experiments, cells treated with increasing doses of F-6 and Ft-3 fail to recover after subsequent drug washout. In summary, this study demonstrates that C-20 furanoic acid F-6, suppresses cancer cell proliferation and promotes apoptotic cell death in leukemic and breast cancer cells, and prevents cell recovery. Therefore, F-6 is a potential anti-cancer drug candidate. View Full-Text
Keywords: F-6 (furanoic F-acid); Gulf catfish lipids; cancer cell lines; cell proliferation; apoptosis; cell recovery F-6 (furanoic F-acid); Gulf catfish lipids; cancer cell lines; cell proliferation; apoptosis; cell recovery

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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).

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Al-Hassan, J.M.; Fang Liu, Y.; Khan, M.A.; Yang, P.; Guan, R.; Wen, X.-Y.; Afzal, M.; Oommen, S.; Paul, B.M.; Nair, D.; Palaniyar, N.; Pace-Asciak, C. Furanoic Lipid F-6, A Novel Anti-Cancer Compound that Kills Cancer Cells by Suppressing Proliferation and Inducing Apoptosis. Cancers 2019, 11, 960.

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