Salinomycin inhibits growth of pancreatic cancer and cancer cell migration by disruption of actin stress fiber integrity

Research output: Contribution to journalResearch articleContributedpeer-review



Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) is characterized by aggressive growth, early metastasis and high resistance to chemotherapy. Salinomycin is a promising compound eliminating cancer stem cells and retarding cancer cell migration. The present study investigated the effectiveness of salinomycin against PDAC in vivo and elucidated the mechanism of PDAC growth inhibition. Salinomycin treatment was well tolerated by the mice and significantly reduced tumor growth after 19 days compared to the control group (each n = 16). There was a trend that salinomycin also impeded metastatic spread to the liver and peritoneum. Whereas salinomycin moderately induced apoptosis and retarded proliferation at 5-10 µM, it strongly inhibited cancer cell migration that was accompanied by a marked loss of actin stress fibers after 6-9 h. Salinomycin silenced RhoA activity, and loss of stress fibers could be reversed by Rho activation. Moreover, salinomycin dislocated fascin from filopodia and stimulated Rac-associated circular dorsal ruffle formation. In conclusion, salinomycin is an effective and promising compound against PDAC. Besides its known stem cell-specific cytotoxic effects, salinomycin blocks cancer cell migration by disrupting stress fiber integrity and affecting the mutual Rho-GTPase balance.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)161-169
Number of pages9
JournalCancer letters
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 28 Mar 2015

External IDs

Scopus 84921549853
PubMed 25529011


Sustainable Development Goals


  • Actins/metabolism, Animals, Apoptosis/drug effects, Carcinoma, Pancreatic Ductal/metabolism, Cell Line, Tumor, Cell Movement/drug effects, Cell Proliferation/drug effects, Humans, Mice, Neoplasm Metastasis, Pancreatic Neoplasms/genetics, Pyrans/pharmacology, Stress Fibers/metabolism, Tumor Burden/drug effects, rhoA GTP-Binding Protein/metabolism