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J Nutr Biochem. 2013 Jun;24(6):1062-9. doi: 10.1016/j.jnutbio.2012.08.004. Epub 2012 Nov 13.

Epithelial-mesenchymal transition, a novel target of sulforaphane via COX-2/MMP2, 9/Snail, ZEB1 and miR-200c/ZEB1 pathways in human bladder cancer cells.

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School of Food Science and Engineering, Harbin Institute of Technology, Harbin, Heilongjiang 150090, China.


Metastasis and recurrence of bladder cancer are the main reasons for its poor prognosis and high mortality rates. Because of its biological activity and high metabolic accumulation in urine, sulforaphane, a phytochemical exclusively occurring in cruciferous vegetables, has a powerful and specific potential for preventing bladder cancer. In this paper, sulforaphane is shown to significantly suppress a variety of biochemical pathways including the attachment, invasion, migration and chemotaxis motion in malignant transitional bladder cancer T24 cells. Transfection with cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) overexpression plasmid largely abolished inhibition of MMP2/9 expression as well as cell invasive capability by sulforaphane. Moreover, sulforaphane inhibited the epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT) process which underlies tumor cell invasion and migration mediated by E-cadherin induction through reducing transcriptional repressors, such as ZEB1 and Snail. Under conditions of over-expression of COX-2 and/or MMP2/9, sulforaphane was still able to induce E-cadherin or reduce Snail/ZEB1 expression, suggesting that additional pathways might be involved. Further studies indicated that miR-200c played a role in the regulation of E-cadherin via the ZEB1 repressor but not by the Snail repressor. In conclusion, the EMT and two recognized signaling pathways (COX-2/MMP2,9/ ZEB1, Snail and miR-200c/ZEB1) are all targets for sulforaphane. This study indicated that sulforaphane may possess therapeutic potential in preventing recurrence of human bladder cancer.

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