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Xerophilusin B Induces Cell Cycle Arrest and Apoptosis in Esophageal Squamous Cell Carcinoma Cells and Does Not Cause Toxicity in Nude Mice

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journal contribution
posted on 2015-01-23, 00:00 authored by Ran Yao, Zhaoli Chen, Chengcheng Zhou, Mei Luo, Xuejiao Shi, Jiagen Li, Yibo Gao, Fang Zhou, Jianxin Pu, Handong Sun, Jie He
Esophageal cancer is the eighth most common cancer in the world and ranks as the sixth leading cause of cancer-related mortality. Esophageal cancer has a poor prognosis partially due to its low sensitivity to chemotherapy agents, and the development of new therapeutic agents is urgently needed. Here, the antitumor activity of a natural ent-kaurane diterpenoid, xerophilusin B (1), which was isolated from Isodon xerophilus, a perennial herb frequently used in Chinese folk medicine for tumor treatment, was investigated. Compound 1 exhibited antiproliferative effects against esophageal squamous cell carcinoma (ESCC) cell lines in a time- and dose-dependent manner with lower toxicity against normal human and murine cell lines. In vivo studies demonstrated that 1 inhibited tumor growth of a human esophageal tumor xenograft in BALB/c nude mice without significant secondary adverse effects, indicating its safety in treating ESCC. Furthermore, 1 induced G2/M cell cycle arrest and promoted apoptosis through mitochondrial cytochrome c-dependent activation of the caspase-9 and caspase-3 cascade pathway in ESCC cell lines. In conclusion, the observations herein reported showed that 1 is a potential chemotherapeutic agent for ESCC and merits further preclinical and clinical investigation for cancer drug development.