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Toxicol Appl Pharmacol. 2013 Dec 1;273(2):418-24. doi: 10.1016/j.taap.2013.09.021. Epub 2013 Oct 3.

Green tea polyphenol, (-)-epigallocatechin-3-gallate, induces toxicity in human skin cancer cells by targeting β-catenin signaling.

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Department of Dermatology, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, AL 35294, USA.


The green tea polyphenol, (-)-epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG), has been shown to have anti-carcinogenic effects in several skin tumor models, and efforts are continued to investigate the molecular targets responsible for its cytotoxic effects to cancer cells. Our recent observation that β-catenin is upregulated in skin tumors suggested the possibility that the anti-skin carcinogenic effects of EGCG are mediated, at least in part, through its effects on β-catenin signaling. We have found that treatment of the A431 and SCC13 human skin cancer cell lines with EGCG resulted in reduced cell viability and increased cell death and that these cytotoxic effects were associated with inactivation of β-catenin signaling. Evidence of EGCG-induced inactivation of β-catenin included: (i) reduced accumulation of nuclear β-catenin; (ii) enhanced levels of casein kinase1α, reduced phosphorylation of glycogen synthase kinase-3β, and increased phosphorylation of β-catenin on critical serine(45,33/37) residues; and (iii) reduced levels of matrix metalloproteinase (MMP)-2 and MMP-9, which are down-stream targets of β-catenin. Treatment of cells with prostaglandin E2 (PGE2) enhanced the accumulation of β-catenin and enhanced β-catenin signaling. Treatment with either EGCG or an EP2 antagonist (AH6809) reduced the PGE2-enhanced levels of cAMP, an upstream regulator of β-catenin. Inactivation of β-catenin by EGCG resulted in suppression of cell survival signaling proteins. siRNA knockdown of β-catenin in A431 and SCC13 cells reduced cell viability. Collectively, these data suggest that induction of cytotoxicity in skin cancer cells by EGCG is mediated by targeting of β-catenin signaling and that the β-catenin signaling is upregulated by inflammatory mediators.


(−)-Epigallocatechin-3-gallate; (−)-epigallocatechin-3 gallate; 3′–5′-cyclic adenosine monophosphate; CDK; COX-2; Cyclooxygenase-2; EGCG; Green tea polyphenol; MMP; PGs; Prostaglandin; Skin cancer; cAMP; cyclin-dependent kinase; cyclooxygenase-2; matrix metalloproteinase; prostaglandins; β-Catenin

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