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Breast Cancer Res Treat. 2012 Aug;134(3):943-55. doi: 10.1007/s10549-012-1977-9. Epub 2012 Feb 21.

Ellagic acid, a phenolic compound, exerts anti-angiogenesis effects via VEGFR-2 signaling pathway in breast cancer.

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  • 1School of Chinese Medicine, Li Ka Shing Faculty of Medicine, The University of Hong Kong, Estates Building, 10 Sassoon Road, Hong Kong, China.


Anti-angiogenesis targeting VEGFR-2 has been considered as an important strategy for cancer therapy. Ellagic acid is a naturally existing polyphenol widely found in fruits and vegetables. It was reported that ellagic acid interfered with some angiogenesis-dependent pathologies. Yet the mechanisms involved were not fully understood. Thus, we analyzed its anti-angiogenesis effects and mechanisms on human breast cancer utilizing in-vitro and in-vivo methodologies. The in-silico analysis was also carried out to further analyze the structure-based interaction between ellagic acid and VEGFR-2. We found that ellagic acid significantly inhibited a series of VEGF-induced angiogenesis processes including proliferation, migration, and tube formation of endothelial cells. Besides, it directly inhibited VEGFR-2 tyrosine kinase activity and its downstream signaling pathways including MAPK and PI3K/Akt in endothelial cells. Ellagic acid also obviously inhibited neo-vessel formation in chick chorioallantoic membrane and sprouts formation of chicken aorta. Breast cancer xenografts study also revealed that ellagic acid significantly inhibited MDA-MB-231 cancer growth and P-VEGFR2 expression. Molecular docking simulation indicated that ellagic acid could form hydrogen bonds and aromatic interactions within the ATP-binding region of the VEGFR-2 kinase unit. Taken together, ellagic acid could exert anti-angiogenesis effects via VEGFR-2 signaling pathway in breast cancer.

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