Betulinic acid triggers apoptosis and inhibits migration and invasion of gastric cancer cells by impairing EMT progress.
Cell Biochem Funct. 2020 Apr 13. Epub 2020 Apr 13. PMID: 32283563
Gastric cancer (GC) is one of the most prevalent types of malignancies. Betulinic acid (BA) is a natural pentacyclic triterpene with a lupine structure. However, to the best of our knowledge, there is no research study on the anti-tumour and anti-metastasis effect of BA on GC. In this study, we assessed the anti-cancer effect of BA on human GC cells in vitro and in vivo. We first investigated the cytotoxicity and anti-proliferation effect of BA on GC cells of SNU-16 and NCI-N87. The results indicated that BA had significant cytotoxic and inhibitory effects on GC cells in a dose- and time-dependent manner. To further study the cytotoxic action of BA on GC cells, we assessed the apoptotic induction effect of BA on SNU-16 cells and found that BA distinctly induced apoptosis in SNU-16 cells. In addition, BA inhibited the migratory and invasive abilities of SNU-16 cells. Western-blot analysis revealed that BA suppressed the migration and invasion of GC cells by impairing epithelial-mesenchymal transition progression. Furthermore, in vivo experiments showed that BA could delay tumour growth and inhibit pulmonary metastasis, which is consistent with the results of in vitro studies. Overall, we evaluated the anti-cancer effect of BA on human GC cells in vivo and in vitro, and the present study provides new evidence on the use of BA as a potential anti-cancer drug for GC treatment. SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY: BA significantly suppressed proliferation and triggered apoptosis in GC cells. Additionally, BA remarkably inhibited migration and invasion of GC cells by impairing the epithelial-mesenchymal transition signalling pathway. It is worth noting that BA drastically retarded tumour growth in the xenograft mouse model of GC. Our results indicated that BA can be considered a candidate drug for GC therapy.