MAP30 protein from Momordica charantia is therapeutic and has synergic activity with cisplatin against ovarian cancer in vivo by altering metabolism and inducing ferroptosis.
Pharmacol Res. 2020 11 ;161:105157. Epub 2020 Aug 16. PMID: 32814169
David W Chan
Increasing evidence shows that Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) has an obvious appeal for cancer treatment, but there is still a lack of scientific investigation of its underlying molecular mechanisms. Bitter melon or bitter gourd (Momordica charantia) is an edible fruit that is commonly consumed, and it is used to cure different diseases in various ancient folk medical practices. We report that a bioactive protein, MAP30, isolated from bitter melon seeds exhibited potent anticancer and anti-chemoresistant effects on ovarian cancer cells. Functional studies revealed that MAP30 inhibited cancer cell migration, cell invasion, and cell proliferation in various ovarian cancer cells but not normal immortalized ovarian epithelial cells. When administered with cisplatin, MAP30 produced a synergistic effect on cisplatin-induced cell cytotoxicity in ovarian cancer cells. When low doses of cisplatin and MAP30 were co-injected intraperitoneally, a remarkable reduction of tumor dissemination and tumor growth was observed in an ovarian cancer ascites mouse model. Notably, blood tests confirmed that MAP30 did not cause any adverse effects on liver and kidney functions in the treated mice. MAP30 activated AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) signaling via CaMKKβ and induced cell cycle arrest in the S-phase. MAP30 modulated cell metabolism of ovarian cancer cells via suppression of GLUT-1/-3-mediated glucose uptake, adipogenesis, and lipid droplet formation in tumor development and progression. MAP30 also induced an increase in intracellular Caion concentration, which triggered ROS-mediated cancer cell death via apoptosis and ferroptosis. Collectively, these findings suggest that natural MAP30 is a non-toxic supplement that may enhance chemotherapeutic outcomes and benefit ovarian cancer patients with peritoneal metastases.