Drugs that target specificity proteins downregulate epidermal growth factor receptor in bladder cancer cells. Academic Article uri icon


  • The epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) is an important chemotherapeutic target for tyrosine kinase inhibitors and antibodies that block the extracellular domain of EGFR. Betulinic acid (BA) and curcumin inhibited bladder cancer cell growth and downregulated specificity protein (Sp) transcription factors, and this was accompanied by decreased expression of EGFR mRNA and protein levels. EGFR, a putative Sp-regulated gene, was also decreased in cells transfected with a cocktail (iSp) containing small inhibitory RNAs for Sp1, Sp3, and Sp4, and RNA interference with individual Sp knockdown indicated that EGFR expression was primarily regulated by Sp1 and Sp3. BA, curcumin, and iSp also decreased phosphorylation of Akt in these cells, and downregulation of EGFR by BA, curcumin, and iSp was accompanied by induction of LC3 and autophagy, which is consistent with recent studies showing that EGFR suppresses autophagic cell death. The results show that EGFR is an Sp-regulated gene in bladder cancer, and drugs such as BA and curcumin that repress Sp proteins also ablate EGFR expression. Thus, compounds such as curcumin and BA that downregulate Sp transcription factors represent a novel class of anticancer drugs that target EGFR in bladder cancer cells and tumors by inhibiting receptor expression.

published proceedings

  • Mol Cancer Res

altmetric score

  • 3

author list (cited authors)

  • Chadalapaka, G., Jutooru, I., Burghardt, R., & Safe, S.

citation count

  • 79

complete list of authors

  • Chadalapaka, Gayathri||Jutooru, Indira||Burghardt, Robert||Safe, Stephen

publication date

  • May 2010