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Am J Transl Res. 2009 Jan 1;1(1):80-6.

Silibinin suppresses CD44 expression in prostate cancer cells.


Prostate cancer (PCa), like most human cancers, features dysregulated CD44 expression. Expression of CD44 standard (CD44s), present in benign epithelium, is lost in PCa while pro-invasive splice variant isoform CD44v7-10 is overexpressed. The role of CD44 in silibinin's anti-growth effects was uncertain. To assess silibinin's effects on CD44 promoter activity, PC-3M PCa cells were transfected with luciferase-CD44 promoter construct 24 h prior to 25-200 muM silibinin treatment for 48 h. Also, cells' expression of CD44 RNA (by qRT-PCR) and protein (Western blot analysis) was studied. Silibinin was further tested preoperatively on a pilot cohort of 6 men with PCa compared with 7 matched placebo-treated men, with immunostaining for CD44v7-10 in their prostates. In PC-3M cells, silibinin dose-dependently inhibited CD44 promoter activity up to 87%, caused a 90% inhibition of total CD44 and 70% decrease in CD44v7-10 RNA, and at the protein level, decreased total CD44 at 100-200 muM dose and decreased CD44v7-10 after 3 days. Silibinin decreased adhesion to hyaluronan and fibronectin. Silibinin at 100-200 muM inhibited Egr-1, a regulator of CD44 promoter activity. Men treated with silibinin did not differ in tissue CD44v7-10 expression. In conclusion, CD44 inhibition is one mechanism by which silibinin reduces PCa tumorigenicity.


CD44; Silibinin, prostatic neoplasms; adhesion; alternate splicing; plasmid

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