Tocotrienols inhibit AKT and ERK activation and suppress pancreatic cancer cell proliferation by suppressing the ErbB2 pathway

Shin-Kang S, Ramsauer VP, Lightner J, Chakraborty K, Stone W, Campbell S, Reddy SA, Krishnan K.

Free Radic Biol Med. 2011 Sep 15;51(6):1164-74. Epub 2011 Jun 21.

Tocotrienols are members of the vitamin E family but, unlike tocopherols, possess an unsaturated isoprenoid side chain that confers superior anti-cancer properties. The ability of tocotrienols to selectively inhibit the HMG-CoA reductase pathway through posttranslational degradation and to suppress the activity of transcription factor NF-κB could be the basis for some of these properties. Our studies indicate that γ- and δ-tocotrienolshave potent antiproliferative activity in pancreatic cancer cells (Panc-28, MIA PaCa-2, Panc-1, and BxPC-3). Indeed both tocotrienols induced cell death (>50%) by the MTT cell viability assay in all four pancreatic cancer cell lines. We also examined the effects of the tocotrienols on the AKT and the Ras/Raf/MEK/ERK signaling pathways by Western blotting analysis. γ- and δ-tocotrienol treatment of cells reduced the activation of ERK MAP kinase and that of its downstream mediator RSK (ribosomal protein S6 kinase) in addition to suppressing the activation of protein kinase AKT. Suppression of activation of AKT by γ-tocotrienol led to downregulation of p-GSK-3β and upregulation accompanied by nuclear translocation of Foxo3. These effects were mediated by the downregulation of Her2/ErbB2 at the messenger level. Tocotrienols but not tocopherols were able to induce the observed effects. Our results suggest that the tocotrienol isoforms of vitamin E can induce apoptosis in pancreatic cancer cells through the suppression of vital cell survival and proliferative signaling pathways such as those mediated by the PI3-kinase/AKT and ERK/MAP kinases via downregulation of Her2/ErbB2 expression. The molecular components for this mechanism are not completely elucidated and need further investigation.

Clinical evaluation of photoprotective effect by a topical antioxidants combination (tocopherols and tocotrienols)

Pedrelli VF, Lauriola MM, Pigatto PD.

J Eur Acad Dermatol Venereol. 2011 Sep 14.

Background: Vitamin E is among the earliest recognized antioxidants. Recent findings suggested that tocotrienols have superior activity than tocopherols. Moreover, vitamin A is well-known in dermatology for its actions, including the ultraviolet radiation absorbing property.

Objectives: In view of experimental evidence for the photoprotective properties of these antioxidants, we evaluated in 30 patients with photosensitivity, the prophylactic efficacy of a new topical agent, containing tocopherols 10% and tocotrienols 0.3%, compared with retinol, simple vehicle and untreated areas.

Methods: After determination of the minimal UVB erythema dose (MED), two areas of 2 × 2 cm were selected on the buttocks of each subject, one of which was treated with the antioxidant formulation whereas the other field did not undergo any treatment. Therefore, both areas were irradiated with a twofold MED. As further controls, other two similar areas, selected on the forearm of 15 patients, were photo-irradiated similarly, 30 min after application of the simple vehicle to a field and of vitamin A in the same vehicle to the other. Reactions (erythema/oedema/itch/vesciculation) assessment was carried out assigning scores indicative of their intensity; then, mean values +DS of scores were calculated. Results  The pre-treatment with the vitamin E formulation highly protects against photosensitivity, and all reactions to irradiation were significantly lower in the areas treated with the topical vitamin E formulation compared to those treated with the simple vehicle or vitamin A.

Conclusions: The use of a new topical formulation containing significant concentrations of tocotrienols and tocopherols represents a promising strategy to reduce the photo-induced skin damage.