Natural compounds solasonine and alisol B23-acetate target GLI3 signaling to block oncogenesis in MED12-altered breast cancer

Document Type : Original article


1 Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, University of the Incarnate Word, San Antonio, TX, USA

2 Department of Biology, University of the Incarnate Word, San Antonio, TX, USA


Breast cancer remains to be the second leading cause of cancer deaths worldwide thereby highlighting the critical need to find superior treatment strategies for this disease. In the current era of cancer treatment, personalized medicine is garnering much attention as this type of treatment is more selective thereby minimizing harmful side effects. Personalized medicine is dependent upon knowing the underlying genetic landscape of the initial tumor. In our study, we focused our efforts on a specific subset of breast cancer that harbors genetic alterations in the Mediator subunit 12 (MED12). Our results show that loss of MED12 leads to enhanced cellular proliferation and colony formation of breast cancer cells through a mechanism that involves activation of GLI3-dependent SHH signaling, a pathway that is central to breast development and homeostasis. To find a personalized treatment option for this subset of breast cancer, we employed a natural compound screening strategy which uncovered a total of ten compounds that selectively target MED12 knockdown breast cancer cells. Our results show that two of these ten compounds, solasonine and alisol B23-acetate, block GLI3-dependent SHH signaling which leads to a reversal of enhanced cellular proliferation and colony formation ability. Thus, our findings provide promising insight into a novel personalized treatment strategy for patients suffering from MED12-altered breast cancer.