Biotechnology Letters

, Volume 40, Issue 2, pp 257–262 | Cite as

Inhibition of epidermal growth factor receptor by ferulic acid and 4-vinylguaiacol in human breast cancer cells

  • S. Sudhagar
  • S. Sathya
  • R. Anuradha
  • G. Gokulapriya
  • Y. Geetharani
  • B. S. Lakshmi
Original Research Paper



To examine the potential of ferulic acid and 4-vinylguaiacol for inhibiting epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) in human breast cancer cells in vitro.


Ferulic acid and 4-vinylguaiacol limit the EGF (epidermal growth factor)-induced breast cancer proliferation and new DNA synthesis. Western blot analysis revealed both ferulic acid and 4-vinylguaiacol exhibit sustained inhibition of EGFR activation through down-regulation of Tyr 1068 autophosphorylation. Molecular docking analysis shows ferulic acid forming hydrogen bond interaction with Lys 745 and Met 793 whereas, 4-vinylguaiacol forms two hydrogen bonds with Phe 856 and exhibits stronger hydrophobic interactions with multiple amino acid residues at the EGFR kinase domain.


Ferulic acid and 4-vinylguaiacol could serve as a potential structure for the development of new small molecule therapeutics against EGFR.


Breast cancer Epidermal growth factor receptor Ferulic acid 4-Vinylguaiacol 



The Authors thank University Grants Commission, Government of India for the major research grant (F.No. 40-182/2011 (SR)). We thank departmental level assistance programmes UGC-SAP-DSA-I (No.F.5-6/2015/DSA-I (SAP-II), DST-PURSE, and DBT-BUILDER (BT/PR12153/INF/22/200/2014), Government of India for their support.

Supporting information

Biotransformation of ferulic acid to 4-vinylguaiacol.

Identification of 4-vinylguaiacol.

Supplementary Fig. 113C NMR analysis of ferulic acid and 4-vinylguaiacol.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that there are no conflicts of interest.

Supplementary material

10529_2017_2475_MOESM1_ESM.docx (16 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 15 kb)
10529_2017_2475_MOESM2_ESM.pptx (129 kb)
Supplementary material 2 (PPTX 129 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V., part of Springer Nature 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • S. Sudhagar
    • 1
  • S. Sathya
    • 1
  • R. Anuradha
    • 1
  • G. Gokulapriya
    • 1
  • Y. Geetharani
    • 1
  • B. S. Lakshmi
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of BiotechnologyCentre for Food Technology, Anna UniversityChennaiIndia

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