Gambogenic Acid Induction of Apoptosis in a Breast Cancer Cell Line

  • Zhou, Jing (Department of Clinical Medicine, Taizhou People's Hospital) ;
  • Luo, Yan-Hong (Department of Oncology, Jiangsu Cancer Hospital) ;
  • Wang, Ji-Rong (Department of Oncology, Second Affiliated Hospital of Nanjing Medical University) ;
  • Lu, Bin-Bin (Department of Oncology, Second Affiliated Hospital of Nanjing Medical University) ;
  • Wang, Ke-Ming (Department of Oncology, Second Affiliated Hospital of Nanjing Medical University) ;
  • Tian, Ye (Department of Clinical Medicine, Taizhou People's Hospital)
  • Published : 2013.12.31


Background: Gambogenic acid is a major active compound of gamboge which exudes from the Garcinia hanburyi tree. Gambogenic acid anti-cancer activity in vitro has been reported in several studies, including an A549 nude mouse model. However, the mechanisms of action remain unclear. Methods: We used nude mouse models to detect the effect of gambogenic acid on breast tumors, analyzing expression of apoptosis-related proteins in vivo by Western blotting. Effects on cell proliferation, apoptosis and apoptosis-related proteins in MDA-MB-231 cells were detected by MTT, flow cytometry and Western blotting. Inhibitors of caspase-3,-8,-9 were also used to detect effects on caspase family members. Results: We found that gambogenic acid suppressed breast tumor growth in vivo, in association with increased expression of Fas and cleaved caspase-3,-8,-9 and bax, as well as decrease in the anti-apoptotic protein bcl-2. Gambogenic acid inhibited cell proliferation and induced cell apoptosis in a concentration-dependent manner. Conclusion: Our observations suggested that Gambogenic acid suppressed breast cancer MDA-MB-231 cell growth by mediating apoptosis through death receptor and mitochondrial pathways in vivo and in vitro.


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