Cordycepin, a Natural Antineoplastic Agent, Induces Apoptosis of Breast Cancer Cells via Caspase-dependent Pathways.

Wang D, Zhang Y, Lu J, Wang Y, Wang J, Meng Q, Lee RJ, Wang D, Teng L
Nat Prod Commun 11 63-8 01/01/2016


Cordycepin, a major compound separated from Cordyceps sinensis, is known as a potential novel candidate for cancer therapy. Breast cancer, the most typical cancer diagnosed among women, remains a global health problem. In this study, the anti-breast cancer property of cordycepin and its underlying mechanisms was investigated. The direct effects of cordycepin on breast cancer cells both in in vitro and in vivo experiments were evaluated. Cordycepin exerted cytotoxicity in MCF-7 and MDA-MB-231 cells confirmed by reduced cell viability, inhibition of cell proliferation, enhanced lactate dehydrogenase release and reactive oxygen species accumulation, induced mitochondrial dysfunction and nuclear apoptosis in human breast cancer cells. Cordycepin increased the activation of pro-apoptotic proteins, including caspase-8, caspase-9, caspase-3 and Bax, and suppressed the expression of the anti-apoptotic protein, B-cell lymphoma 2 (Bcl-2). The inhibition on MCF-7-xenografted tumor growth in nude mice further confirmed cordycepin's anti-breast cancer effect. These aforementioned results reveal that cordycepin induces apoptosis in human breast cancer cells via caspase-dependent pathways. The data shed light on the possibility of cordycepin being a safe agent for breast cancer treatment.

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