Send to

Choose Destination
Mol Cancer Ther. 2007 Jul;6(7):2127-38.

Sensitizing HER2-overexpressing cancer cells to luteolin-induced apoptosis through suppressing p21(WAF1/CIP1) expression with rapamycin.

Author information

Institute of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, College of Medicine, National Taiwan University, No. 1, Section 1, Jen-ai Road, Taipei 10018, Taiwan.


HER2 overexpression, which confers resistance to various therapeutic regimens, correlates with a poor clinical prognosis. In this study, we showed that luteolin, a naturally occurring flavonoid, is a potent stimulator of HER2 degradation. Luteolin effectively inhibited cell proliferation and induced apoptosis in HER2-overexpressing cancer cells. Furthermore, we found that low doses of luteolin up-regulated p21 expression and high doses of luteolin down-regulated its expression. Examination of the Akt/mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) signaling revealed that this signaling was only transiently inhibited by low doses of luteolin, which suggested that the inability to cause sustained Akt/mTOR inhibition may contribute to p21 induction and provide a survival advantage to HER2-overexpressing cancer cells. To test this hypothesis, we showed that the combined use of luteolin and mTOR inhibitor rapamycin prevented low doses of luteolin from inducing p21 expression, and HER2-overexpressing cancer cells would be sensitized toward luteolin-induced apoptosis. In addition, p21 small interfering RNA also increased the luteolin-induced cell death. In nude mice with xenografted SKOV3.ip1-induced tumors, luteolin significantly inhibited HER2 expression and tumor growth in a dose-dependent manner, and rapamycin further enhanced the effect of luteolin with a concomitant p21 inhibition. These results reveal an intriguing finding that suppressing p21 expression might have therapeutic implications and further suggest that combination of mTOR inhibitors may be a promising strategy to help increase the efficacy of preventive or therapeutic compounds against HER2-overexpressing tumors.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free full text

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for HighWire
Loading ...
Support Center