The skin cancer chemotherapeutic agent ingenol-3-angelate (PEP005) is a substrate for the epidermal multidrug transporter (ABCB1) and targets tumor vasculature.

Paradigms and Technologies


Ingenol-3-angelate (Ing3A), extracted from Euphorbia peplus, is currently in clinical trials for eradicating basal cell carcinoma, actinic keratosis, and squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) in situ by topical application. Although structurally related to phorbol esters and a protein kinase C activator, topical Ing3A, but not phorbol 12-myristate 13-acetate (PMA), inhibited the growth of subcutaneous tumors derived from PAM212 (mouse SCC) and B16 (mouse melanoma). Ing3A and PMA both induced acute neutrophilic inflammation on mouse skin, but only Ing3A caused subcutaneous hemorrhage and vascular damage. Both Ing3A and PMA activated extracellular signal-regulated kinase 1/2 (ERK1/2) in epidermis, but Ing3A also activated ERK1/2 in skin dermal fibroblasts and endothelial cells. Pretreatment with topical cyclosporin A (CsA), verapamil, or XR9576, modulators of P-glycoprotein (P-gp), prevented Ing3A-induced hemorrhage but not neutrophil infiltration. CsA also impaired the anticancer activity of Ing3A, whereas the anti-inflammatory dexamethasone did not. Ing3A, but not PMA, blocked photoaffinity labeling of human P-gp with [(125)I]iodoaryazidoprazosin and inhibited P-gp-mediated drug resistance to HCT-15 cells. The intracellular levels of Ing3A were significantly lower in P-gp-expressing cells, and treatment with XR9576 increased the levels to those of cells that do not express P-gp, showing that Ing3A binds to and is transported by P-gp. Taken together, our results suggest that P-gp-mediated absorptive transport, dermal penetration, and vascular damage contribute to the anticancer activity of Ing3A in vivo.


Li, Luowei; Shukla, Suneet; Lee, Andrew; Garfield, Susan H; Maloney, David J; Ambudkar, Suresh V; Yuspa, Stuart H;


  • Administration, Topical
  • Animals
  • Antineoplastic Agents/ metabolism
  • Antineoplastic Agents/ pharmacokinetics
  • Antineoplastic Agents/ pharmacology
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell/ blood supply
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell/ drug therapy
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell/ metabolism
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Diterpenes/ metabolism
  • Diterpenes/ pharmacokinetics
  • Diterpenes/ pharmacology
  • Drug Eruptions/ enzymology
  • Drug Eruptions/ etiology
  • Enzyme Activation/ drug effects
  • Humans
  • Keratinocytes/ drug effects
  • Keratinocytes/ enzymology
  • Melanoma, Experimental/ blood supply
  • Melanoma, Experimental/ drug therapy
  • Melanoma, Experimental/ metabolism
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred BALB C
  • Mice, Nude
  • Neovascularization, Pathologic/ drug therapy
  • Neovascularization, Pathologic/ metabolism
  • P-Glycoprotein/ antagonists & inhibitors
  • P-Glycoprotein/ metabolism
  • P-Glycoproteins
  • Protein Binding
  • Protein Kinase C/ metabolism
  • Skin/ drug effects
  • Skin/ enzymology
  • Skin Neoplasms/ blood supply
  • Skin Neoplasms/ drug therapy
  • Skin Neoplasms/ metabolism
  • Tetradecanoylphorbol Acetate/ pharmacology

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