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Anticancer Drugs. 2013 Oct;24(9):920-7. doi: 10.1097/CAD.0b013e328364a109.

Artesunate inhibits the growth of gastric cancer cells through the mechanism of promoting oncosis both in vitro and in vivo.

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Department of Surgery, The Second Affiliated Hospital of Wenzhou Medical University, People's Republic of China.


This study aims to investigate the significance and mechanism of artesunate involved in suppressing the proliferation of gastric cancer in vitro and in vivo. In the in-vitro experiments, artesunate inhibited the growth of gastric cancer cell lines (SGC-7901, BGC-823, and AGS) with concentration-dependent activity, with no significant effect on GES-1 cells. BGC-823 cells treated with artesunate showed the typical morphologic features of oncosis rather than apoptosis. Meanwhile, we observed calcium overload, downregulation of vascular endothelial growth factor expression, and upregulation of calpain-2 expression in the artesunate-treated BGC-823 cells. In addition, the in-vivo study showed that artesunate produced a dose-dependent tumor regression in nude mice. The antitumor activity of 240 mg/kg artesunate was similar to that of 10 mg/kg docetaxel. Furthermore, compared with the control group, no significant difference was observed in the body weight of artesunate-treated nude mice other than docetaxel-treated nude mice. These observations show that artesunate has concentration-dependent inhibitory activities against gastric cancer in vitro and in vivo by promoting cell oncosis through an impact of calcium, vascular endothelial growth factor, and calpain-2 expression.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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