Effect of cucurbitacin on malignant biological behavior of breast cancer cells, and its possible underlying mechanism

  • Yun Ren
  • Guangyan Huang
  • Guangyan Huang
  • Qiang Xue
  • Qinjing Lv
  • Yayun Wu
  • Qianfei Wu
  • Wei Yao
  • Bowen Wang
  • Shengya Wang
Keywords: Cucurbitacin, Breast cancer, Malignant biological behavior, Risk factors


Purpose: To study the influence of cucurbitacin on malignant biological behavior of mammary carcinoma cells, and the likely mechanism involved.
Methods: Human mammary carcinoma cell line MDA-MB-436 was selected for cell culture and treated with different concentrations of cucurbitacin. The effect of cucurbitacin on cell activity, cell colonyformation capacity, cell invasion, migration potential, matrix metalloproteinase-9 (MMP-9) activity, and levels of vascular endothelial growth factor A (VEGFA), epithelial calcium adhesion (E-cadherin), and neurogenic calcium adhesion (N-cadherin) were measured. Moreover, levels of wave protein (vimentin), phosphorylated epidermal growth factor receptor (p-EGFR), phosphorylated signaling transduction, and transcription activation factor 3 (p-STAT3) and phosphorylated protein kinase B (p-Akt) were determined.
Results: With increase in cucurbitacin dose, there was significant decrease in cell viability, cell colony ratio, cell invasion and migration capacity, and expression levels of MMP-9, VEGFA, e-cadherin, ncadherin, vimentin, P-EGFR, P-STAT3 and p-Akt (p < 0.05).
Conclusion: Cucurbitacin inhibits the proliferation, invasion, and migration of breast cancer cells by down-regulating the expressions of EGFR/STAT3/Akt signaling-related proteins, and inhibiting epithelial-mesenchymal transition transformation.


Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 1596-9827
print ISSN: 1596-5996