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Onco Targets Ther. 2016 Apr 27;9:2511-8. doi: 10.2147/OTT.S102422. eCollection 2016.

Paeoniflorin prevents hypoxia-induced epithelial-mesenchymal transition in human breast cancer cells.

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Department of Thyroid and Breast, Huaihe Hospital, Henan University, Kaifeng, People's Republic of China.
Department of Immunization Program, Zhengzhou Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Zhengzhou, People's Republic of China.


Paeoniflorin (PF) is a monoterpene glycoside extracted from the root of Paeonia lactiflora Pall. Previous studies have demonstrated that PF inhibits the growth, invasion, and metastasis of tumors in vivo and in vitro. However, the effect of PF on hypoxia-induced epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) in breast cancer cells remains unknown. Therefore, the objective of this study was to investigate the effect of PF on hypoxia-induced EMT in breast cancer cells, as well as characterize the underlying mechanism. The results presented in this study demonstrate that PF blocks the migration and invasion of breast cancer cells by repressing EMT under hypoxic conditions. PF also significantly attenuated the hypoxia-induced increase in HIF-1α level. Furthermore, PF prevented hypoxia-induced expression of phosphorylated PI3K and Akt in MDA-MB-231 cells. In conclusion, PF prevented hypoxia-induced EMT in breast cancer cells by inhibiting HIF-1α expression via modulation of PI3K/Akt signaling pathway. This finding provides evidence that PF can serve as a therapeutic agent for the treatment of breast cancer.


PI3K/Akt signaling pathway; breast cancer; epithelial–mesenchymal transition; hypoxia; paeoniflorin

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