Cinobufagin suppresses melanoma cell growth by inhibiting LEF1

Geon Hee Kim, Xue Quan Fang, Woo Jin Lim, Jooho Park, Tae Bong Kang, Ji Hyung Kim, Ji Hong Lim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


Constitutive activation of the β-catenin dependent canonical Wnt signaling pathway, which enhances tumor growth and progression in multiple types of cancer, is commonly observed in melanoma. LEF1 activates β-catenin/TCF4 transcriptional activity, promoting tumor growth and progression. Although several reports have shown that LEF1 is highly expressed in melanoma, the functional role of LEF1 in melanoma growth is not fully understood. While A375, A2058, and G361 melanoma cells exhibit abnormally high LEF1 expression, lung cancer cells express lower LEF1 levels. A luciferase assay-based high throughput screening (HTS) with a natural compound library showed that cinobufagin suppressed β-catenin/TCF4 transcriptional activity by inhibiting LEF1 expression. Cinobufagin decreases LEF1 expression in a dose-dependent manner and Wnt/β-catenin target genes such as Axin-2, cyclin D1, and c-Myc in melanoma cell lines. Cinobufagin sensitively attenuates cell viability and induces apoptosis in LEF1 expressing melanoma cells compared to LEF1-low expressing lung cancer cells. In addition, ectopic LEF1 expression is sufficient to attenuate cinobufagin-induced apoptosis and cell growth retardation in melanoma cells. Thus, we suggest that cinobufagin is a potential anti-melanoma drug that suppresses tumor-promoting Wnt/β-catenin signaling via LEF1 inhibition.

Original languageEnglish
Article number6706
Pages (from-to)1-13
Number of pages13
JournalInternational journal of molecular sciences
Issue number18
Publication statusPublished - 2020 Sept 2


  • Cinobufagin
  • LEF1
  • Melanoma
  • TCF4

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Catalysis
  • Molecular Biology
  • Spectroscopy
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Inorganic Chemistry


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