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Cell Physiol Biochem. 2013;32(5):1541-50. doi: 10.1159/000356591. Epub 2013 Nov 29.

Berberine suppresses TPA-induced fibronectin expression through the inhibition of VEGF secretion in breast cancer cells.

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Department of Surgery, Samsung Medical Center, Sungkyunkwan University School of Medicine, Seoul, South Korea.



Berberine (BBR) is an isoquinoline alkaloid and is beneficial for the anticancer effect on a variety of human tumor cells. However, BBR's anti-angiogenesis property and its clinical potential as an inhibitor of tumor angiogenesis in breast cancer cells have not been fully elucidated. Here, we investigated the effect of BBR on TPA-induced VEGF and fibronectin (FN) as well as VEGF-induced FN in breast cancer cells.


The secretion of VEGF protein was detected by ELISA. Fibronectin mRNA and protein expression was analyzed by Real-Time PCR and western blotting, respectively. The overexpressions of CA-MEK, and CA-Akt were examined by adenovirus system.


Our results showed that TPA, a tumor promoter, significantly increased the level of VEGF and FN expression in both MCF7 and T47D breast cancer cells. On the other hand, TPA-induced VEGF and FN expression was suppressed by LY294002, a PI-3K inhibitor. In contrast, the level of FN expression also significantly increased by constitutively active (CA)-AKT overexpression. We also found that TPA-induced VEGF and FN expression was decreased by BBR treatment. Finally, our results showed that VEGF augmented the expression of FN whereas VEGF-induced FN expression was decreased by BBR treatment.


Taken together, we suggest that BBR may suppress TPA-induced VEGF and FN as well as VEGF-induced FN through the inhibition of the PI-3K/AKT pathway in breast cancer cells. Therefore, we suggest that BBR may be used as a candidate drug for the inhibition of angiogenesis of human breast cancer.

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