Term of Award

Summer 2023

Degree Name

Master of Science in Biology (M.S.)

Document Type and Release Option

Thesis (open access)

Copyright Statement / License for Reuse

Digital Commons@Georgia Southern License


Department of Biology

Committee Chair

Vinoth Sittaramane

Committee Member 1

Rebecca Kocerha

Committee Member 2

Dongyu Jia


Ninety percent of cancer deaths are resultant from the metastasis of cancer cells. When cancer cells translocate through blood vessels or the lymphatic system, they may form tumors outside of their primary site. The processes of metastasis can begin quickly; after onset, metastasis is unforgiving, as it does not participate with the body’s physiological systems in an orderly way. In the past, our lab produced results indicating that a cell adhesion molecule, Integrin Alpha-6, may contribute to cancer cells' ability to metastasize. Integrins mediate interactions between the cell and the Extracellular Matrix (ECM), regulating cell attachment and cell migration. With ITGA6’s involvement and possible role established, we sought out drugs that may interfere with the integrin’s expression. We treated prostate cancer cells (PC3) with cucurbitacin B and silmitasertib to see if the drugs were capable of upregulating or down regulating the activation of ITGA6 on the PC3 cell line. We executed tumor xenografts on zebrafish embryos to track metastasis. We then explored the efficacy of cucurbitacin B and silmitasertib, administering the drugs and monitoring the spread of cancer cells. We found ITGA6 expression was decreased in PC3 cells after silmitasertib and cucurbitacin B treatment. Both in vivo (Wound Closure Assay) and in vitro (zebrafish tumor-xenograft), PC3 migration decreased after silmitasertib (sil) and cucurbitacin B (cuB) treatment. Both drugs showed efficiency in inhibiting metastasis in the zebrafish tumor xenograft model and pose as promising compounds in the context of combating cancer metastasis.

Research Data and Supplementary Material