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Cancer Res. 2002 Feb 15;62(4):1025-9.

Inhibition of activator protein-1 binding activity and phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase pathway by nobiletin, a polymethoxy flavonoid, results in augmentation of tissue inhibitor of metalloproteinases-1 production and suppression of production of matrix metalloproteinases-1 and -9 in human fibrosarcoma HT-1080 cells.

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Department of Biochemistry, Tokyo University of Pharmacy and Life Science, School of Pharmacy, Hachioji, Tokyo 192-0392, Japan.


Medicinal plants contain pharmacological substances including flavonoids, and their extracts have been therapeutically administered for cancer therapy in vitro and in vivo. We investigated the efficacy of a polymethoxy flavonoid, nobiletin, from Citrus depressa on tumor invasion in vitro. Nobiletin inhibited the tumor-invasive activity of human fibrosarcoma HT-1080 cells in the Matrigel model, whereas a similar inhibition was observed upon exogenously adding tissue inhibitors of metalloproteinases (TIMPs)-1 and -2. The gene expression and production of pro-matrix metalloproteinase 9 (proMMP-9)/progelatinase B and proMMP-1/interstitial procollagenase were specifically suppressed by nobiletin in 12-O-tetradecanoylphorbol 13-acetate-stimulated HT-1080 cells. In contrast, the gene expression and production of TIMP-1, but not TIMP-2, were enhanced by nobiletin. We also demonstrated that nobiletin suppressed the 12-O-tetradecanoylphorbol 13-acetate-induced binding activity of activator protein-1. Furthermore, a phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase inhibitor, LY-294002, was found to mimic the different actions of nobiletin on the production of proMMP-9 and TIMP-1. These results suggest that nobiletin inhibits tumor cell invasive activity not only by suppressing the expression of MMPs but also augmenting TIMP-1 production in tumor cells, and that the nobiletin-mediated inhibition of activator protein-1 binding activity is at least partly involved in the suppression of MMP expression. Furthermore, we suggest a possible mechanism by which nobiletin may interfere in the phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase pathway, which divergently regulates the production of MMP and TIMP-1.

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