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Gynecol Oncol. 2011 Aug;122(2):396-401. doi: 10.1016/j.ygyno.2011.04.027. Epub 2011 May 26.

Xanthohumol decreases Notch1 expression and cell growth by cell cycle arrest and induction of apoptosis in epithelial ovarian cancer cell lines.

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Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, The University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health, Madison, WI 53792, USA.



Notch1 signaling is active in ovarian cancer and is a promising pathway for new therapies in ovarian cancer. We have previously detected high Notch1 expression in ovarian tumors. Xanthohumol has been shown to inhibit cancer cell growth and invasion, including Kaposi's sarcoma, which also highly expresses Notch1. We hypothesized that the Notch1 signaling pathway is targeted by xanthohumol leading to decreased ovarian cancer cell growth.


SKOV3 and OVCAR3 cells were utilized. MTT growth assays were conducted following treatment with xanthohumol. Quantitative RT-PCR and Western blot analyses were conducted to assess Notch1 down-regulation. Luciferase reporter assays were performed to assess functional down-regulation of Notch1. Cell cycle analysis was performed by flow cytometry.


Significant growth inhibition and down-regulation of Notch1 transcription and protein expression were found following xanthohumol treatment. In addition, xanthohumol increased Hes6 transcription and decreased Hes1 transcription, known downstream targets of Notch 1. These observations were associated with cell cycle inhibition as demonstrated by an increase in p21 expression and S and G2/M cell cycle arrest confirmed by an increase in phosphorylated cdc2. Furthermore, an increase in the apoptotic markers, cleaved caspase-3 and cleaved PARP were observed.


Xanthohumol was a potent inhibitor of ovarian cancer cell growth, and our results suggest that xanthohumol may be influencing the Notch1 pathway. These findings suggest that xanthohumol could be useful as a therapeutic agent in ovarian cancer.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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