Thumbnail Image

The Natural Fungal Metabolite Beauvericin Exerts Anticancer Activity In Vivo: A Pre-Clinical Pilot Study

Heilos, Daniela; Rodríguez-Carrasco, Yelko; Englinger, Bernhard; Timelthaler, Gerald; Van Schoonhoven, Sushilla; Sulyok, Michael; Boecker, Simon; Süßmuth, Roderich D.; Heffeter, Petra; Lemmens-Gruber, Rosa; Dornetshuber-Fleiss, Rita; Berger, Walter

Recently, in vitro anti-cancer properties of beauvericin, a fungal metabolite were shown in various cancer cell lines. In this study, we assessed the specificity of this effect by comparing beauvericin cytotoxicity in malignant versus non-malignant cells. Moreover, we tested in vivo anticancer effects of beauvericin by treating BALB/c and CB-17/SCID mice bearing murine CT-26 or human KB-3-1-grafted tumors, respectively. Tumor size and weight were measured and histological sections were evaluated by Ki-67 and H/E staining as well as TdT-mediated-dUTP-nick-end (TUNEL) labeling. Beauvericin levels were determined in various tissues and body fluids by LC-MS/MS. In addition to a more pronounced activity against malignant cells, we detected decreased tumor volumes and weights in beauvericin-treated mice compared to controls in both the allo- and the xenograft model without any adverse effects. No significant differences were detected concerning percentages of proliferating and mitotic cells in tumor sections from treated and untreated mice. However, a significant increase of necrotic areas within whole tumor sections of beauvericin-treated mice was found in both models corresponding to an enhanced number of TUNEL-positive, i.e., apoptotic, cells. Furthermore, moderate beauvericin accumulation was detected in tumor tissues. In conclusion, we suggest beauvericin as a promising novel natural compound for anticancer therapy.
Published in: Toxins, 10.3390/toxins9090258, MDPI