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Phytother Res. 2015 Jul;29(7):1026-31. doi: 10.1002/ptr.5342. Epub 2015 Apr 16.

Activation of Caspase-9/3 and Inhibition of Epithelial Mesenchymal Transition are Critically Involved in Antitumor Effect of Phytol in Hepatocellular Carcinoma Cells.

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College of Korean Medicine, Kyung Hee University, 1 Hoegi-dong, Dongdaemun-gu, Seoul, 131-701, South Korea.
Graduate School of East-West Medical Science, Kyung Hee University, Seoul, South Korea.
Graduate School of Biotechnology & Institute of Life Sciences and Resources, Kyung Hee University, Yongin, 446-701, South Korea.


This study was designed to investigate the antitumor mechanism of Phytol in hepatocellular carcinomas including Huh7 and HepG2 cells in association with caspase dependent apoptosis and epithelial mesenchymal transition (EMT) signaling. Phytol significantly suppressed the viability of Huh7 and HepG2 cells. Also, Phytol significantly increased the sub G1 population and terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase deoxyuridine triphosphate nick end labeling (TUNEL) positive cells in a concentration dependent manner in Huh7 and HepG2 cells. Consistently, Phytol cleaved poly (adenosine diphosphate-ribose) polymerase (PARP), activated caspase-9/3, and Bax attenuated the expression of survival genes such as Bcl-2, Mcl-1, and c-Myc in Huh7 and HepG2 cells. Of note, Phytol also suppressed typical morphology change of EMT such as loss of cell adhesion and formation of fibroblast like mesenchymal cells in HepG2 cells. Furthermore, Phytol also reversed the loss of E-cadherin and overexpression of p-smad2/3, alpha-smooth muscle actin, and Snail induced by EMT promoter transforming growth factor beta1 in HepG2 cells. Overall, our findings suggest that Phytol exerts antitumor activity via apoptosis induction through activation of caspas-9/3 and inhibition of EMT in hepatocellular carcinoma cells as a potent anticancer candidate for liver cancer treatment.


EMT; hepatocellular carcinoma; Phytol; TGF-β1; caspase-9/3

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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