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Carcinogenesis. 2010 Mar;31(3):481-8. doi: 10.1093/carcin/bgp292. Epub 2009 Dec 7.

Novel angiogenesis inhibitory activity in cinnamon extract blocks VEGFR2 kinase and downstream signaling.

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  • 1Department of Molecular Medicine, Beckman Research Institute of City of Hope, 1500 East Duarte Road, Duarte, CA 91010, USA.


As a critical factor in the induction of angiogenesis, vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) has become an attractive target for anti-angiogenesis treatment. However, the side effects associated with most anti-VEGF agents limit their chronic use. Identification of naturally occurring VEGF inhibitors derived from diet is a potential alternative approach, with the advantage of known safety. To isolate natural inhibitors of VEGF, we established an in vitro tyrosine kinase assay to screen for diet-based agents that suppress VEGFR2 kinase activity. We found that a water-based extract from cinnamon (cinnamon extract, CE), one of the oldest and most popular spices, was a potent inhibitor of VEGFR2 kinase activity, directly inhibiting kinase activity of purified VEGFR2 as well as mitogen-activated protein kinase- and Stat3-mediated signaling pathway in endothelial cells. As a result, CE inhibited VEGF-induced endothelial cell proliferation, migration and tube formation in vitro, sprout formation from aortic ring ex vivo and tumor-induced blood vessel formation in vivo. Depletion of polyphenol from CE with polyvinylpyrrolidone abolished its anti-angiogenesis activity. While cinnamaldehyde, a component responsible for CE aroma, had little effect on VEGFR2 kinase activity, high-performance liquid chromatography-purified components of CE, procyanidin type A trimer (molecular weight, 864) and a tetramer (molecular weight, 1152) were found to inhibit kinase activity of purified VEGFR2 and VEGFR2 signaling, implicating procyanidin oligomers as active components in CE that inhibit angiogenesis. Our data revealed a novel activity in cinnamon and identified a natural VEGF inhibitor that could potentially be useful in cancer prevention and/or treatment.

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