Zhang S, et al. Mol Med Rep 2020.
Colorectal cancer is a digestive tract malignancy and the third leading cause of cancer‑related mortality worldwide. Norcantharidin (NCTD), the demethylated form of cantharidin, has been reported to possess anticancer properties. Family‑with‑sequence‑similarity‑46c (Fam46c), a non‑canonical poly(A) polymerase, has been reported to be critical in NCTD‑mediated effects in numerous types of cancer, including hepatoma. In the current study, it was found that Fam46c expression was reduced in
colorectal cancer tissues and cells. Treatment with NCTD was observed to significantly enhance apoptosis and inhibit glycolysis in colorectal cancer cells. In addition, Fam46c and cleaved caspase 3 expression levels were found to be increased in response to NCTD treatment, in contrast to tumor‑specific pyruvate kinase M2 and phosphorylated ERK expression, which was reduced. Importantly, overexpression of Fam46c exerted similar effects as NCTD treatment on the apoptosis and glycolysis of colorectal cancer cells, whereas Fam46c knockdown strongly attenuated the effect of NCTD. Moreover, epidermal growth factor, which acts as an agonist of ERK1/2 signaling, weakened the effects of NCTD on colorectal cancer cells. Taken together, the results indicated that NCTD promotes apoptosis and suppresses glycolysis in colorectal cancer cells by possibly targeting Fam46c and inhibiting ERK1/2 signaling, hence suggesting that Fam46c may act as a tumor suppressor in colorectal cancer. Thus, the present study identified a novel therapeutic target of NCTD in the clinical treatment of colorectal cancer.