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Biofactors. 2017 Mar;43(2):152-169. doi: 10.1002/biof.1315. Epub 2016 Sep 1.

Cardamonin, a chalcone, inhibits human triple negative breast cancer cell invasiveness by downregulation of Wnt/β-catenin signaling cascades and reversal of epithelial-mesenchymal transition.

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Department of Pharmacology & Toxicology, National Institute of Pharmaceutical Education & Research (NIPER-Hyderabad), Hyderabad, Telangana, India.
Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology, Faculty of Biology and Medicine, University of Lausanne, Lausanne, Switzerland.
School of Biomedicine, Far Eastern Federal University, Vladivostok, Russia.
Institute for Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine (inStem), NCBS-TIFR, UAS-GKVK, Bengaluru, Karnataka, India.


Cardamonin (CD), an active chalconoid, has shown potent anticancer effects in preclinical studies; however, the effect and underlying mechanism of CD for the treatment of triple negative breast cancer (TNBC) is unclear. This study aims to examine the cytotoxic effects of CD and investigate the underlying mechanism in human TNBC cells. The results show that CD exhibits cytotoxicity by inducing apoptosis and cell cycle arrest in TNBC cells via modulation of Bcl-2, Bax, cyt-C, cleaved caspase-3, and PARP. We find that CD significantly increases expression of the epithelial marker E-cadherin, while reciprocally decreasing expression of mesenchymal markers such as snail, slug, and vimentin in BT-549 cells. In parallel with epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) reversal, CD down regulates invasion and migration of BT-549 cells. CD markedly reduces stability and nuclear translocation of β-catenin, accompanied with downregulation of β-catenin target genes. Using the TopFlash luciferase reporter assay, we reveal CD as a specific inhibitor of the Wnt3a-induced signaling. These results suggest the involvement of the Wnt/β-catenin signaling in the CD-induced EMT reversion of BT-549 cells. Notably, CD restores the glycogen synthase kinase-3β (GSK3β) activity, required for β-catenin destruction via the proteasome-mediated system, by inhibiting the phosphorylation of GSK3β by Akt. These occurrences ultimately lead to the blockage of EMT and the invasion of TNBC cells. Further antitumor activity of CD was tested in 4T1 (TNBC cells) induced tumor and it was found that CD significantly inhibited the tumor volume at dose of 5 mg/kg-treated mice.


cardamonin; epithelial-mesenchymal transition; glycogen synthase kinase-3β; triple negative breast cancer; β-catenin

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