Norcantharidin Anti-Angiogenesis Activity Possibly through an Endothelial Cell Pathway in Human Colorectal Cancer

  • Yu, Tao (Department of Oncology, Shanghai Chinese Medical Hospital) ;
  • Hou, Fenggang (Department of Oncology, Shanghai Chinese Medical Hospital) ;
  • Liu, Manman (Department of Oncology, Shanghai Chinese Medical Hospital) ;
  • Zhou, Lihong (Department of Oncology & Cancer Institute, Putuo Hospital, Shanghai University of Traditional Chinese Medicine) ;
  • Li, Dan (Department of Pharmacy, the 6th People's Hospital, Shanghai Jiao Tong University) ;
  • Liu, Jianrong (Department of Oncology, Shanghai Chinese Medical Hospital) ;
  • Fan, Zhongze (Department of Oncology & Cancer Institute, Putuo Hospital, Shanghai University of Traditional Chinese Medicine) ;
  • Li, Qi (Department of Oncology & Cancer Institute, Putuo Hospital, Shanghai University of Traditional Chinese Medicine)
  • Published : 2012.02.29


The present study was based on the unexpected discovery that norcantharidin exerted anti-angiogenesis activity when effects on growth of human colon cancer were studied. The aim was to further verify this finding and explore possible mechanisms using a tumor xenograft model in nude mice. We confirmed that norcantharidin (5 or 15 mg/kg) could inhibit angiogenesis of human colon cancer in vivo. In vitro, crossing river assay, cell adhesion assay and tube formation assay indicated that NCTD could reduce the migration, adhesion and vascular network tube formation ability of HUVECs. At the same time, the expression levels of VEGF and VEGFR-2 proteins which play important roles in angiogenesis were reduced as examined by western blotting analysis. Taken together, the results firstly showed NCTD could inhibit angiogenesis of human colon cancer in vivo, probably associated with effects on migration, adhesion and vascular network tube formation of HUVECs and expression levels of VEGF and VEGFR-2 proteins.


Human colorectal cancer;norcantharidin;angiogenesis;vascular endothelial growth factor


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