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Int J Oncol. 2017 Apr;50(4):1330-1340. doi: 10.3892/ijo.2017.3890. Epub 2017 Feb 22.

Ursolic acid nanoparticles inhibit cervical cancer growth in vitro and in vivo via apoptosis induction.

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Department of Gynecology, The Affiliated Yantai Yuhuangding Hospital of Qingdao University, Yantai, Shandong 264000, P.R. China.


Cervical cancer is a cause of cancer death, making it one of the most common causes of death among women globally. Previously, a variety of studies have revealed the molecular mechanisms by which cervical cancer develops. However, there are still limitations in treatment for cervical cancer. Ursolic acid is a naturally derived pentacyclic triterpene acid, exhibiting broad anticancer effects. Nanoparticulate drug delivery systems have been known to better the bioavailability of drugs on intranasal administration compared with only drug solutions. Administration of ursolic acid nanoparticles is thought to be sufficient to lead to considerable suppression of cervical cancer progression. We loaded gold-ursolic acid into poly(DL-lactide-co-glycolide) nanoparticles to cervical cancer cell lines due to the properties of ursolic acid in altering cellular processes and the easier absorbance of nanoparticles. In addition, in this study, ursolic acid nanoparticles were administered to cervical cancer cells to find effective treatments for cervical cancer inhibition. In the present study, ELISA, western blotting, flow cytometry and immunohistochemistry assays were carried out to calculate the molecular mechanism by which ursolic acid nanoparticles modulated cervical cancer progression. Data indicated that ursolic acid nanoparticles, indeed, significantly suppress cervial cancer cell proliferation, invasion and migration compared to the control group, and apoptosis was induced by ursolic acid nanoparticles in cervical cancer cells through activating caspases, p53 and suppressing anti-apoptosis-related signals. Furthermore, tumor size was reduced by treatment of ursolic acid nanoparticles in in vivo experiments. In conclusion, this study suggests that ursolic acid nanoparticles inhibited cervical cancer cell proliferation via apoptosis induction, which could be a potential target for future therapeutic strategy clinically.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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