1,1-Bis(3'-indolyl)-1-(p-substituted phenyl)methanes inhibit ovarian cancer cell growth through peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-dependent and independent pathways. Academic Article uri icon


  • 1,1-Bis(3'-indolyl)-1-(p-t-butylphenyl)methane (DIM-C-pPhtBu) is a peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma (PPARgamma) agonist, and treatment of SKOV3 ovarian cancer cells with this compound (5 micromol/L) inhibits cell proliferation, whereas up to 15 micromol/L rosiglitazone had no effect on cell growth. DIM-C-pPhtBu also inhibits G0-G1 to S phase cell cycle progression and this is linked, in part, to PPARgamma-dependent induction of the cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitor p21. DIM-C-pPhtBu induces PPARgamma-independent down-regulation of cyclin D1 and we therefore further investigated activation of receptor-independent pathways. DIM-C-pPhtBu also induced apoptosis in SKOV3 cells and this was related to induction of glucose-related protein 78, which is typically up-regulated as part of the unfolded protein response during endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress. Activation of ER stress was also observed in other ovarian cancer cell lines treated with DIM-C-pPhtBu. In addition, DIM-C-pPhtBu induced CCAAT/enhancer binding protein homologous protein through both ER stress and c-jun NH2-terminal kinase-dependent pathways, and CCAAT/enhancer binding protein homologous protein activated death receptor 5 and the extrinsic pathway of apoptosis. These results show that DIM-C-pPhtBu inhibits growth and induces apoptosis in ovarian cancer cells through both PPARgamma-dependent and PPARgamma-independent pathways, and this complex mechanism of action will be advantageous for future clinical development of these compounds for treatment of ovarian cancer.

published proceedings

  • Mol Cancer Ther

altmetric score

  • 3

author list (cited authors)

  • Lei, P., Abdelrahim, M., & Safe, S.

citation count

  • 33

complete list of authors

  • Lei, Ping||Abdelrahim, Maen||Safe, Stephen

publication date

  • September 2006