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Anticancer Agents Med Chem. 2019;19(3):402-409. doi: 10.2174/1871520618666181106120718.

3, 3'-Dimethylquercetin Inhibits the Proliferation of Human Colon Cancer RKO Cells through Inducing G2/M Cell Cycle Arrest and Apoptosis.

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College of Pharmacy, Fujian University of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Fuzhou 350122, China.
Department of Chemistry and Life Science, Fujian Institute of Education, Fuzhou, 350025, China.
Academy of Integrative Medicine, Fujian University of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Fuzhou 350122, China.
College of Pharmacy, Chengdu University of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Chengdu 610075, China.



Our previous study successfully identified that 3,3'-Dimethylquercetin (DMQ) acted as a potent anticancer agent against human colon cancer cell lines RKO. Thus, this study was conducted to investigate the underlying mechanism by which DMQ displayed inhibitory activity in RKO cells.


Flow cytometry was used to evaluate the effect of DMQ on the cell cycle arrest, as well as the mitochondrial membrane potential in RKO cells. DAPI staining and DNA fragmentation ladder assays were performed to assess the apoptosis inducing activity of DMQ. Furthermore, western blot analysis was conducted to examine the expression of related proteins responsible for the cell cycle arrest and apoptosis.


Treatment with DMQ caused a significant increase in the fraction of G2/M cells, and induced remarkable apoptosis. Furthermore, western blot analysis showed that DMQ arrested cells at G2/M checkpoint by down-regulation of cyclin B1, cdc2 and cdc25c and up-regulation of p21, and induced cell apoptosis via affecting the ratio of Bax/Bcl-2, causing loss of the mitochondrial membrane potential and enhancing the expression of cleaved caspase-9 (C-caspase-9) and cleaved caspase-3 (C-caspase-3).


These data showed that DMQ could suppress RKO cell growth by arresting RKO cells at G2/M checkpoint and inducing mitochondria-dependent cell apoptosis. Our findings shed light on the potential use of DMQ as a chemotherapeutic agent for CRC.


3,3′-dimethylquercetin; Colorectal cancer; RKO cells; apoptosis; cell cycle arrest; mitochondrial membrane potential.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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