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Mol Carcinog. 2008 Mar;47(3):184-96.

Antitumor activity of 3,5,4'-trimethoxystilbene in COLO 205 cells and xenografts in SCID mice.

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Department of Seafood Science, National Kaohsiung Marine University, Nan-Tzu, Kaohsiung, Taiwan.


Resveratrol (R-3), a trihydroxy trans-stilbene from grape, inhibits multistage carcinogenesis in animal models. Here we report that 3,5,4'-trimethoxystilbene (MR-3), the permethylated derivative of R-3 was more potent against the growth of human cancer cells (HT-29, PC-3, COLO 205) with estimated IC(50) values of 81.31,42.71, and 6.25 microM, respectively. We further observed that MR-3 induced apoptosis in COLO 205 cells through modulation of mitochondrial functions regulated by reactive oxygen species (ROS). ROS generation occurs in the early stages of MR-3-induced apoptosis, preceding cytochrome-c release, caspase activation, and DNA fragmentation. Significant therapeutic effects were demonstrated in vivo by treating severe combined immune deficiency (SCID) mice bearing COLO 205 tumor xenografts with MR-3 (50 mg/kg ip). Assays on DNA fragmentation and caspase activation were performed and demonstrated that apoptosis occurred in tumor tissues treated with MR-3. The appearance of apoptotic cells, as shown by Hematoxylin and Eosin (H&E) staining, and an increase in p21 and decrease in proliferating cell nuclear antigen (PCNA) protein by immuno-histochemistry were observed in tumor tissues under MR-3 treatment. Our study identifies the novel mechanisms of the antitumor effects of MR-3 and indicates that these results may have significant applications for cancer chemotherapy.

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