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Anticancer Res. 2001 Jan-Feb;21(1A):413-20.

Apigenin inhibits growth and induces G2/M arrest by modulating cyclin-CDK regulators and ERK MAP kinase activation in breast carcinoma cells.

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Division of Endocrinology, UCLA School of Medicine, Los Angeles, California 90024, USA.


We have previously reported that apigenin inhibits the growth of thyroid cancer cells by attenuating epidermal growth factor receptor (EGF-R) tyrosine phosphorylation and phosphorylation of ERK mitogen-activated protein (MAP) kinase. In this study, we assessed the growth inhibitory effect of apigenin on MCF-7 breast carcinoma cells that express two key cell cycle regulators, wild-type p53 and the retinoblastoma tumor suppressor protein (Rb), and MDA-MB-468 breast carcinoma cells that are mutant for p53 and Rb negative. We found that apigenin potently inhibited growth of both MCF-7 and MDA-MB-468 breast carcinoma cells. The approximate IC50 values determined after 3 days incubation, were 7.8 micrograms/ml for MCF-7 cells, and 8.9 micrograms/ml for MDA-MB-468 cells, respectively. Because the cell cycle studies using FACS showed that both MCF-7 and MDA-MB-468 cells were arrested in G2/M phase after apigenin treatment, we studied the effects of apigenin on cell cycle regulatory molecules. We observed that G2/M arrest by apigenin involved a significant decrease in cyclin B1 and CDK1 protein levels, resulting in a marked inhibition of CDK1 kinase activity. Apigenin reduced the protein levels of CDK4, cyclins D1 and A, but did not affect cyclin E, CDK2 and CDK6 protein expression. In MCF-7 cells, apigenin markedly reduced Rb phosphorylation after 12 h. We also found that apigenin treatment resulted in a dose- and time-dependent inhibition of ERK MAP kinase phosphorylation and activation in MDA-MB-468 cells. These results suggest that apigenin is a promising antibreast cancer agent and its growth inhibitory effects are mediated by targeting different signal transduction pathways in MCF-7 and MDA-MB-468 breast carcinoma cells.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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