Scutellaria Barbata D Don Inhibits Colorectal Cancer Growth via Suppression of Multiple Signaling Pathways.Integr Cancer Ther 2014; 13(3):240-8IC
The pathogenic mechanisms underlying cancer development are complex and heterogeneous, involving multiple cellular signaling transduction pathways that usually function redundantly. In addition, crosstalk between these pathways generates a complicated and robust signaling network that is regulated by compensatory mechanisms. Given the complexity of cancer pathogenesis and progression, many of the currently used antitumor agents, which typically target a single intracellular pathway, might not always be effective on complex tumor systems. Moreover, long-term use of these agents often generates drug resistance and toxicity against normal cells. Therefore, the development of novel anticancer chemotherapies is urgently needed.Scutellaria barbataD Don (SB) is a medicinal herb that has long been used in China to treat various types of cancer. We previously reported that the ethanol extract of SB (EESB) is able to induce colon cancer cell apoptosis, inhibit cell proliferation and tumor angiogenesis via modulation of several pathways, including Hedgehog, Akt, and p53. To further elucidate the precise mechanisms of SB's antitumor activity, using a colorectal cancer (CRC) mouse xenograft model in the present study, we evaluated the therapeutic efficacy and molecular mechanisms of EESB against tumor growth. We found that EESB reduced tumor volume and tumor weight but had no effect on body weight gain in CRC mice, demonstrating that EESB could inhibit colon cancer growth in vivo without apparent adverse effect. In addition, EESB treatment could significantly suppress the activation of several CRC-related pathways, including STAT3, Erk, and p38 signalings in tumor tissues, and alter the expression of multiple critical target genes such as Bcl-2, Bax, Cyclin D1, CDK4, and p21. These molecular effects lead to the induction of cancer cell apoptosis and inhibition of cell proliferation. Our findings demonstrate that SB possesses a broad range of antitumor activities because of its ability to affect multiple intracellular targets.