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01.03.2013 | Original Paper | Ausgabe 1/2013

Medical Oncology 1/2013

Enhancement of cisplatin-induced apoptosis by β-elemene in resistant human ovarian cancer cells

Zeitschrift:
Medical Oncology > Ausgabe 1/2013
Autoren:
Qingdi Quentin Li, Rebecca X. Lee, Huasheng Liang, Yuhua Zhong, Eddie Reed
Wichtige Hinweise
Qingdi Li, Rebecca Lee, and Huasheng Liang contributed equally to this work.

Abstract

β-Elemene is a new anticancer compound extracted from the Chinese medicinal herb Rhizoma zedoariae. We have shown previously that β-elemene increases cisplatin cytotoxicity and enhances cisplatin sensitivity via blocking cell cycle progression at G2/M phase in resistant ovarian tumor cells. In the current study, we asked whether β-elemene-augmented cisplatin activity in ovarian carcinoma cells is mediated through the induction of apoptosis. Here, we show that β-elemene triggered apoptotic cell death in chemoresistant human ovarian cancer A2780/CP and MCAS cells in a dose- and time-dependent fashion, as assessed by six different apoptosis assays. Intriguingly, β-elemene was a stronger inducer of apoptosis than cisplatin in this model system, and a synergistic effect on induction of cell death was observed when the tumor cells were treated with both agents. Furthermore, β-elemene plus cisplatin exposure significantly disrupted the mitochondrial transmembrane potential (ΔΨ m) and increased the release of cytochrome c from mitochondria into the cytoplasm. The combination treatment with both compounds also induced increases in caspase-3/8/9 activities and caspase-9 cleavage, enhanced protein expression of Bax and phosphorylation of Bcl-2 at Ser-70, and reduced the protein levels of Bcl-2 and Bcl-XL in the platinum-resistant ovarian cancer cells. Taken together, these data indicate that β-elemene sensitizes chemoresistant ovarian carcinoma cells to cisplatin-induced apoptosis and that the augmented effect of β-elemene on cisplatin cytotoxicity and sensitivity in resistant ovarian tumor cells is mediated through a mitochondria- and caspase-dependent cell death pathway.

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