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J Agric Food Chem. 2009 Sep 23;57(18):8258-65. doi: 10.1021/jf901619w.

The Monascus metabolite monacolin K reduces tumor progression and metastasis of Lewis lung carcinoma cells.

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  • 1Institute of Microbiology and Biochemistry, College of Life Science, National Taiwan University, Taipei, Taiwan.


Monascus -fermented red mold rice extract (RMRE) offers valuable therapeutic benefits and has been extensively used for centuries in East Asia. Monascus secondary polyketide metabolites, including monacolin K (MK) and ankaflavin (AK), have been reported to have antitumor-initiating effects on cancer progression. This paper reports that the oral administration of RMRE dramatically inhibited the metastatic ability of murine Lewis lung carcinoma (LLC) cells in syngeneic C57BL/6 mice caused by the decline of serum vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) levels compared with untreated metastatic groups. MK is a key antimetastatic and antiangiogenesis compound in RMRE, as shown by down-regulation of VEGF-stimulated invasive activity in LLC cells by Matrigel-coating transwell and tube-forming assays and reverse transcription-Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT-PCR). Therefore, application of RMRE may serve as a nontoxic natural chemopreventive or antineoplastic agent in the development of cancer adjuvant chemotherapy.

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