Authors: Mohyeldin MM1, Akl MR1, Ebrahim HY1, Dragoi AM2, Dykes S2, Cardelli JA2, El Sayed KA1.
The hepatocyte growth factor (HGF)/mesenchymal-epithelial transition factor (c-Met) signaling axis has gained considerable attention as an attractive molecular target for therapeutic blockade of cancer. Inspired by the chemical structure of S (-)-oleocanthal, a natural secoiridoid from extra-virgin olive oil with documented anticancer activity against c-Met-dependent malignancies, the research presented herein reports on the discovery of the novel olive-derived homovanillyl sinapate (HVS) as a promising c-Met inhibitor. HVS was distinguished for its remarkable potency against wild-type c-Met and its oncogenic variant in cell-free assays and confirmed by in silico docking studies. Furthermore, HVS substantially impaired the c-Met-mediated growth across a broad spectrum of breast cancer cells, while similar treatment doses had no effect on the non-tumorigenic mammary epithelial cell growth. In addition, HVS caused a dose-dependent inhibition of HGF-induced, but not epidermal growth factor (EGF)-induced, cell scattering in addition to HGF-mediated migration, invasion, and 3-dimensional (3D) proliferation of tumor cell spheroids. HVS treatment effects were mediated via inhibition of ligand-mediated c-Met activation and its downstream mitogenic signaling and blocking molecular mediators involved in cellular motility across different cellular contexts. An interesting feature of HVS is its good selectivity for c-Met and Abelson murine leukemia viral oncogene homolog 1 (ABL1) when profiled against a panel of kinases. Docking studies revealed interactions likely to impart high dual affinity for both ABL1 and c-Met kinases. HVS markedly reduced tumor growth, showed excellent pharmacodynamics, and suppressed cell proliferation and microvessel density in an orthotopic model of triple negative breast cancer. Collectively, the present findings suggested that the oleocanthal-based HVS is a promising c-Met inhibitor lead entity with excellent therapeutic potential to control malignancies with aberrant c-Met activity.