Research Papers:

4EGI-1 targets breast cancer stem cells by selective inhibition of translation that persists in CSC maintenance, proliferation and metastasis

Tingfang Yi, Eihab Kabha, Evangelos Papadopoulos and Gerhard Wagner _

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Oncotarget. 2014; 5:6028-6037. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.2112

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Tingfang Yi1, Eihab Kabha1, Evangelos Papadopoulos1 and Gerhard Wagner1

1 Department of Biological Chemistry and Molecular Pharmacology, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA


Gerhard Wagner, email:

Keywords: cancer stem cells, eIF4E, translation, 4EGI-1

Received: May 29, 2014 Accepted: June 17, 2014 Published: June 18, 2014


Cancer death is a leading cause of global mortality. An estimated 14.1 million new cancer cases and 8.2 million cancer deaths occurred worldwide in 2012 alone. Cancer stem cells (CSCs) within tumors are essential for tumor metastasis and reoccurrence, the key factors of cancer lethality. Here we report that 4EGI-1, an inhibitor of the interaction between translation initiation factors eIF4E1 and eIF4G1 effectively inhibits breast CSCs through selectively reducing translation persistent in breast CSCs. Translation initiation factor eIF4E1 is significantly enhanced in breast CSCs in comparison to non-CSC breast cancer cells. 4EGI-1 presents increased cytotoxicity to breast CSCs compared to non-CSC breast cancer cells. 4EGI-1 promotes breast CSC differentiation and represses breast CSC induced tube-like structure formation of human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVECs). 4EGI-1 isomers suppress breast CSC tumorangiogenesis and tumor growth in vivo. In addition, 4EGI-1 decreases proliferation in and induces apoptosis into breast CSC tumor cells. Furthermore, 4EGI-1 selectively inhibits translation of mRNAs encoding NANOG, OCT4, CXCR4, c-MYC and VEGF in breast CSC tumors. Our study demonstrated that 4EGI-1 targets breast CSCs through selective inhibition of translation critical for breast CSCs, suggesting that selective translation initiation interference might be an avenue targeting CSCs within tumors.

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