Menadione (Vitamin K3) Induces Apoptosis of Human Oral Cancer Cells and Reduces their Metastatic Potential by Modulating the Expression of Epithelial to Mesenchymal Transition Markers and Inhibiting Migration

  • Suresh, Shruthy (Department of Biotechnology, Indian Institute of Technology Madras) ;
  • Raghu, Dinesh (Department of Biotechnology, Indian Institute of Technology Madras) ;
  • Karunagaran, Devarajan (Department of Biotechnology, Indian Institute of Technology Madras)
  • Published : 2013.09.30


Oral cancer is one of the most commonly occurring cancers worldwide, decreasing the patient's survival rate due to tumor recurrence and metastasis. Menadione (Vitamin K3) is known to exhibit cytotoxicity in various cancer cells but the present study focused on its effects on viability, apoptosis, epithelial to mesenchymal transition (EMT), anchorage independent growth and migration of oral cancer cells. The results show that menadione is more cytotoxic to SAS (oral squamous carcinoma) cells but not to non-tumorigenic HEK293 and HaCaT cells. Menadione treatment increased the expression of pro-apoptotic proteins, Bax and p53, with a concurrent decrease in anti-apoptotic proteins, Bcl-2 and p65. Menadione induced the expression of E-cadherin but reduced the expression of EMT markers, vimentin and fibronectin. Menadione also inhibited anchorage independent growth and migration in SAS cells. These findings reveal and confirm that menadione is a potential candidate in oral cancer therapy as it exhibits cytotoxic, antineoplastic and antimigratory effects besides effectively blocking EMT in oral cancer cells.


Apoptosis;colony formation;epithelial to mesenchymal transition;menadione;oral cancer


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