Dihydroartemisinin-driven selective anti-lung cancer proliferation by binding to EGFR and inhibition of NRAS signaling pathway-induced DNA damage


Sci Rep. 2024 May 22;14(1):11704. doi: 10.1038/s41598-024-62126-8.


Chemotherapeutic agents can inhibit the proliferation of malignant cells due to their cytotoxicity, which is limited by collateral damage. Dihydroartemisinin (DHA), has a selective anti-cancer effect, whose target and mechanism remain uncovered. The present work aims to examine the selective inhibitory effect of DHA as well as the mechanisms involved. The findings revealed that the Lewis cell line (LLC) and A549 cell line (A549) had an extremely rapid proliferation rate compared with the 16HBE cell line (16HBE). LLC and A549 showed an increased expression of NRAS compared with 16HBE. Interestingly, DHA was found to inhibit the proliferation and facilitate the apoptosis of LLC and A549 with significant anti-cancer efficacy and down-regulation of NRAS. Results from molecular docking and cellular thermal shift assay revealed that DHA could bind to epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) molecules, attenuating the EGF binding and thus driving the suppressive effect. LLC and A549 also exhibited obvious DNA damage in response to DHA. Further results demonstrated that over-expression of NRAS abated DHA-induced blockage of NRAS. Moreover, not only the DNA damage was impaired, but the proliferation of lung cancer cells was also revitalized while NRAS was over-expression. Taken together, DHA could induce selective anti-lung cancer efficacy through binding to EGFR and thereby abolishing the NRAS signaling pathway, thus leading to DNA damage, which provides a novel theoretical basis for phytomedicine molecular therapy of malignant tumors.

PMID:38778121 | DOI:10.1038/s41598-024-62126-8