Epigallocatechin-3-gallate attenuates head and neck cancer stem cell traits through suppression of Notch pathway.
Eur J Cancer. 2013 Oct ;49(15):3210-8. Epub 2013 Jul 19. PMID: 23876835
Sang Hyuk Lee
Most solid cancers including head and neck squamous carcinoma (HNSC) are believed to be initiated from and maintained by cancer stem cells (CSCs) that are responsible for treatment resistance, resulting in tumour relapse. Epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG), the most abundant polyphenol in green tea, can potently inhibit cancer growth and induce apoptosis in various cancers, including HNSC. However, its effect on HNSC CSCs is not well elucidated. In this study, we examined the anti-tumour effect of EGCG on HNSC CSCs. We demonstrated that EGCG inhibits the self-renewal capacity of HNSC CSCs by suppressing their sphere forming capacity, and attenuates the expression of stem cell markers, such as Oct4, Sox2, Nanog and CD44. EGCG treatment augmented cisplatin-mediated chemosensitivity by suppressing ABCC2 and ABCG2 transporter genes, which are putative molecules of treatment resistance of CSC. In addition, the combination treatment of EGCG and cisplatin inhibited tumour formation and induced apoptosis in a xenograft model. As one of mechanisms of suppression of HNSC CSC traits, EGCG decreased the transcriptional level of Notch, resulting in the inhibition of Notch signalling. Collectively, our data suggest that EGCG in combination with cisplatin can be used for the management of HNSC CSCs.