Send to

Choose Destination
Cancer Lett. 2010 Mar 1;289(1):62-70. doi: 10.1016/j.canlet.2009.08.002. Epub 2009 Aug 27.

Antioxidants potentiate American ginseng-induced killing of colorectal cancer cells.

Author information

Ben May Department for Cancer Research, The University of Chicago, Chicago, IL 60637, United States.


Colorectal cancer is the third leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the United States. Novel prevention or therapeutic agents are needed to better manage this disease. American ginseng is a commonly used herb and is believed to have lots of health benefits, including anti-cancer activities. However there have been very few in-depth studies of the activities of this herb at the molecular level. In this report we showed that 4h-steamed American ginseng root extract (S4h) induced mitochondrial damage, increased reactive oxygen species (ROS), and apoptosis in colorectal cancer cells. We showed that the NF-kappaB pathway was activated by S4h and that removal of ROS inhibited S4h-induced NF-kappaB activation. We further showed that both antioxidants and a specific inhibitor of the NF-kappaB pathway enhanced S4h-induced cell death. Finally, we showed that protecting the mitochondria decreased both the level of ROS and apoptosis. Taken together, these results indicate that S4h-induced apoptosis in colorectal cancer cells is mediated by mitochondria damage and that damage to the mitochondria activates both the apoptosis pathway and the ROS/NF-kappaB mediated survival pathway. These results further suggest that the anti-cancer effect of steamed ginseng can be enhanced by antioxidants or inhibitors of the NF-kappaB pathway.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Elsevier Science Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center