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Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2013;2013:270906. doi: 10.1155/2013/270906. Epub 2013 Apr 4.

Caffeic Acid phenethyl ester inhibits epithelial-mesenchymal transition of human pancreatic cancer cells.

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  • 1Division of Gastroenterology, Department of Internal Medicine, Mackay Memorial Hospital, Taiwan ; Mackay Medicine, Nursing and Management College, Taipei, Taiwan.


Background. This study aimed to investigate the effect of propolis component caffeic acid phenethyl ester (CAPE) on epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) of human pancreatic cancer cells and the molecular mechanisms underlying these effects. Methods. The transforming growth factor β (TGF-β-) induced EMT in human pancreatic PANC-1 cancer cells was characterized by observation of morphology and the expression of E-cadherin and vimentin by western blotting. The migration potential was estimated with wound closure assay. The expression of transcriptional factors was measured by quantitative RT-PCR and immunocytochemistry staining. The orthotopic pancreatic cancer xenograft model was used for in vivo assessment. Results. The overexpression of vimentin was attenuated by CAPE, and the alteration in morphology from polygonal to spindle shape was partially reversed by CAPE. Furthermore, CAPE delayed the TGF-β-stimulated migration potential. CAPE treatment did not reduce the expression levels of Smad 2/3, Snail 1, and Zeb 1 but inhibited the expression of transcriptional factor Twist 2. By using an orthotopic pancreatic cancer model, CAPE suppressed the expression of Twist 2 and growth of PANC-1 xenografts without significant toxicity. Conclusion. CAPE could inhibit the orthotopic growth and EMT of pancreatic cancer PANC-1 cells accompanied by downregulation of vimentin and Twist 2 expression.

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