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J Biol Chem. 2004 Mar 26;279(13):12755-62. Epub 2003 Dec 29.

Epigallocatechin-3-gallate inhibits epidermal growth factor receptor signaling pathway. Evidence for direct inhibition of ERK1/2 and AKT kinases.

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  • 1Department of Environmental Health Sciences, School of Medicine, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, OH 44106, USA.


Epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) activation is absolutely required for cervical cell proliferation. This suggests that EGFR-inhibitory agents may be of therapeutic value. In the present study, we investigated the effects of epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG), a bioactive green tea polyphenol, on EGFR signaling in cervical cells. EGCG inhibits epidermal growth factor-dependent activation of EGFR, and EGFR-dependent activation of the mitogen-activated protein kinases ERK1/2. EGCG also inhibits EGFR-dependent AKT activity. The EGCG-dependent reduction in ERK and AKT activity is associated with reduced phosphorylation of downstream substrates, including p90RSK, FKHR, and BAD. These changes are associated with increased p53, p21(WAF-1), and p27(KIP-1) levels, reduced cyclin E level, and reduced CDK2 kinase activity. Consistent with these findings, flow cytometry and TUNEL (terminal deoxynucleotidyl-transferase-mediated dUTP nick end labeling) staining revealed EGCG-dependent G(1) arrest. Moreover, sustained EGCG treatment caused apoptotic cell death. In addition to inhibiting EGFR, cell-free studies demonstrated that EGCG directly inhibits ERK1/2 and AKT, suggesting that EGCG acts simultaneously at multiple levels to inhibit EGF-dependent signaling. Importantly, the EGCG inhibition is selective, as EGCG does not effect the EGFR-dependent activation of JNK. These results suggest that EGCG acts to selectively inhibit multiple EGF-dependent kinases to inhibit cell proliferation.

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