Anticancer effects of wogonin in both estrogen receptor-positive and -negative human breast cancer cell linesin vitroand in nude mice xenografts

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Wogonin is a plant monoflavonoid which has been reported to inhibit cell growth and/or induce apoptosis in various tumors. Herein, we investigated thein vitroandin vivoanticancer effects and associated mechanisms of wogonin in human breast cancer. Effects of wogonin were examined in estrogen receptor (ER)-positive and -negative human breast cancer cells in culture for proliferation, cell cycle progression, and apoptosis. Thein vivoeffect of oral wogonin was examined on tumor xenograft growth in athymic nude mice. The molecular changes associated with the biological effects of wogonin were analyzed by immunoblotting. Cell growth was attenuated by wogonin (50–200 μM), independently of its ER status, in a time- and concentration-dependent manner. Apoptosis was enhanced and accompanied by upregulation of PARP and Caspase 3 cleavages as well as proapoptotic Bax protein. Akt activity was suppressed and reduced phosphorylation of its substrates, GSK-3β and p27, was observed. Suppression of Cyclin D1 expression suggested the downregulation of the Akt-mediated canonical Wnt signaling pathway. ER expression was downregulated in ER-positive cells, while c-ErbB2 expression and its activity were suppressed in ER-negative SK-BR-3 cells. Wogonin feeding to mice showed inhibition of tumor growth of T47D and MDA-MB-231 xenografts by up to 88% without any toxicity after 4 weeks of treatment. As wogonin was effective bothin vitroandin vivo, our novel findings open the possibility of wogonin as an effective therapeutic and/or chemopreventive agent against both ER-positive and -negative breast cancers, particularly against the more aggressive and hormonal therapy-resistant ER-negative types.

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