β-elemene effectively suppresses the growth and survival of both platinum-sensitive and -resistant ovarian tumor cells.
Anticancer Res. 2012 Aug ;32(8):3103-13. PMID: 22843880
Rebecca X Lee
The development of cisplatin drug resistance remains a chief concern in ovarian cancer chemotherapy.β-Elemene is a natural plant product with broad-spectrum antitumor activity towards many types of carcinomas. This study aimed to define the biological and therapeutic significance of β-elemene in chemoresistant ovarian cancer. In the present study, β-elemene significantly inhibited cell growth and proliferation of both the cisplatin-sensitive human ovarian cancer cell line A2780 and its cisplatin-resistant counterpart A2780/CP. β-Elemene also suppressed the growth of several other chemosensitive and chemoresistant ovarian cancer cell lines, including ES-2, MCAS, OVCAR-3, and SKOV-3, withthe half maximal inhibitory concentration (IC(50)) values ranging from 54 to 78 μg/ml. In contrast, the IC(50) values of β-elemene for the human ovarian epithelial cell lines IOSE-386 and IOSE-397 were 110 and 114 μg/ml, respectively, which are almost two-fold those for the ovarian cancer cell lines. Cell cycle analysis demonstrated that β-elemene induced a persistent block of cell cycle progression at the G(2)/M phase in A2780 and A2780/CP cells. This was mediated by alterations in cyclin and cyclin-dependent kinase expression, including the down-regulation of CDC2, cyclin A, and cyclin B1, and the up-regulation of p21(WAF1/CIP1) and p53 proteins. Moreover, β-elemene triggered apoptosis and irreversible cell death in both sensitive and resistant ovarian cancer cells via the activation of caspase-3, -8 and 9; the loss of mitochondrial membrane potential (δΨm); the release of cytochrome c into the cytosol; and changes in the expression of BCL-2 family proteins. All of these molecular changes were associated with β-elemene-induced growth inhibition and cell death of ovarian cancer cells. Our results demonstrate that β-elemene has antitumor activity against both platinum-sensitive and resistant ovarian cancer cells, and thus has the potential for development as a chemotherapeutic agent for cisplatin-resistant ovarian cancer.