Oncol Rep. 2021 Jun;45(6):94. doi: 10.3892/or.2021.8045. Epub 2021 Apr 13.
Cancer metastasis is the leading cause of mortality in cancer patients. Over 70% of lung cancer patients are diagnosed at advanced or metastatic stages, and this results in an increased incidence of mortality. Terrein is a secondary bioactive fungal metabolite isolated from Aspergillus terreus. Numerous studies have demonstrated that terrein has anticancer properties, but in the present study, the cellular mechanisms underlying the inhibition of lung cancer cell metastasis by terrein was investigated for the first time. Using MTT assays, the cytotoxic effects of terrein were first examined in human lung cancer cells (A549 cells) and then compared with its cytotoxic effects in three noncancer control cell lines (Vero kidney, L6 skeletal muscle and H9C2 cardiomyoblast cells). The results indicated that terrein significantly reduced the viability of all these cells but exhibited a different level of toxicity in each cell type; these results revealed a specific concentration range in which the effect of terrein was specific to A549 cells. This significant cytotoxic effect of terrein in A549 cells was verified using LDH assays. It was then demonstrated that terrein attenuated the proliferation of A549 cells using IncuCyte image analysis. Regarding its antimetastatic effects, terrein significantly inhibited A549 cell adhesion, migration and invasion. In addition, terrein suppressed the angiogenic processes of A549 cells, including vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) secretion, capillary‑like tube formation and VEGF/VEGFR2 interaction. These phenomena were accompanied by reduced protein levels of integrins, FAK, and their downstream mediators (e.g., PI3K, AKT, mTORC1 and P70S6K). All these data indicated that terrein was able to inhibit all the major metastatic processes in human lung cancer cells, which is crucial for cancer treatment.