Theranostics 2017; 7(18):4632-4642. doi:10.7150/thno.18630 This issue

Research Paper

MMPP Attenuates Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer Growth by Inhibiting the STAT3 DNA-Binding Activity via Direct Binding to the STAT3 DNA-Binding Domain

Dong Ju Son1*, Jie Zheng1*, Yu Yeon Jung2*, Chul Ju Hwang1, Hee Pom Lee1, Ju Rang Woo3, Song Yi Baek3, Young Wan Ham4, Min Woong Kang5, Minho Shong5, Gi Ryang Kweon5, Min Jong Song6, Jae Kyung Jung1, Sang-Bae Han1, Bo Yeon Kim7, Do Young Yoon8, Bu Young Choi9✉, Jin Tae Hong1✉

1. College of Pharmacy & Medical Research Center, Chungbuk National University, Cheongju, Chungbuk 28160, Republic of Korea;
2. Department of Dental Hygiene, Gwangyang Health Sciences University, Gwangyang, Jeonnam 57764, Korea;
3. New Drug Development Center, Osong Medical Innovation Foundation, Cheongju, Chungbuk 28160, Republic of Korea;
4. Department of Chemistry, Utah Valley University, 800 W University Pkwy, Orem, UT 84058, USA;
5. Chungnam National University Hospital, Chungnam National University School of Medicine, Daejeon, Chungnam 34134, Republic of Korea;
6. Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Daejeon St. Mary's Hospital, College of Medicine, The Catholic University of Korea, Daejeon 34943, Republic of Korea;
7. World Class Institute, Korea Research Institute of Bioscience and Biotechnology, Cheongju, Chungbuk 28116, Republic of Korea;
8. Department of Bioscience and Biotechnology, Konkuk University, Seoul 05029, Republic of Korea;
9. Department of Pharmaceutical Science and Engineering, Seowon University, Cheongju, Chungbuk, 28674, Republic of Korea.
* These authors contributed equally to this work

This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY-NC) license ( See for full terms and conditions.
Son DJ, Zheng J, Jung YY, Hwang CJ, Lee HP, Woo JR, Baek SY, Ham YW, Kang MW, Shong M, Kweon GR, Song MJ, Jung JK, Han SB, Kim BY, Yoon DY, Choi BY, Hong JT. MMPP Attenuates Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer Growth by Inhibiting the STAT3 DNA-Binding Activity via Direct Binding to the STAT3 DNA-Binding Domain. Theranostics 2017; 7(18):4632-4642. doi:10.7150/thno.18630. Available from

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Graphic abstract

Rationale: Signal transducer and activator of transcription-3 (STAT3) plays a pivotal role in cancer biology. Many small-molecule inhibitors that target STAT3 have been developed as potential anticancer drugs. While designing small-molecule inhibitors that target the SH2 domain of STAT3 remains the leading focus for drug discovery, there has been a growing interest in targeting the DNA-binding domain (DBD) of the protein.

Methods: We demonstrated the potential antitumor activity of a novel, small-molecule (E)-2-methoxy-4-(3-(4-methoxyphenyl)prop-1-en-1-yl)phenol (MMPP) that directly binds to the DBD of STAT3, in patient-derived non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) xenograft model as well as in NCI-H460 cell xenograft model in nude mice.

Results: MMPP effectively inhibited the phosphorylation of STAT3 and its DNA binding activity in vitro and in vivo. It induced G1-phase cell cycle arrest and apoptosis through the regulation of cell cycle- and apoptosis-regulating genes by directly binding to the hydroxyl residue of threonine 456 in the DBD of STAT3. Furthermore, MMPP showed a similar or better antitumor activity than that of docetaxel or cisplatin.

Conclusion: MMPP is suggested to be a potential candidate for further development as an anticancer drug that targets the DBD of STAT3.

Keywords: (E)-2-methoxy-4-(3-(4-methoxyphenyl)prop-1-en-1-yl)phenol, STAT3, DNA-binding domain, anticancer, NSCLC.