Enhancement of cisplatin-induced apoptosis byβ-elemene in resistant human ovarian cancer cells.
Med Oncol. 2013 Mar ;30(1):424. Epub 2013 Jan 1. PMID: 23277286
Qingdi Quentin Li
β-Elemene is a new anticancer compound extracted from the Chinese medicinal herb Rhizoma zedoariae. We have shown previously that β-elemene increases cisplatin cytotoxicity and enhances cisplatin sensitivity via blocking cell cycle progression at G2/M phase in resistant ovarian tumor cells. In thecurrent study, we asked whether β-elemene-augmented cisplatin activity in ovarian carcinoma cells is mediated through the induction of apoptosis. Here, we show that β-elemene triggered apoptotic cell death in chemoresistant human ovarian cancer A2780/CP and MCAS cells in a dose- and time-dependent fashion, as assessed by six different apoptosis assays. Intriguingly, β-elemene was a stronger inducer of apoptosis than cisplatin in this model system, and a synergistic effect on induction of cell death was observed when the tumor cells were treated with both agents. Furthermore, β-elemene plus cisplatin exposure significantly disrupted the mitochondrial transmembrane potential (ΔΨ (m)) and increased the release of cytochrome c from mitochondria into the cytoplasm. The combination treatment with both compounds also induced increases in caspase-3/8/9 activities and caspase-9 cleavage, enhanced protein expression of Bax and phosphorylation of Bcl-2 at Ser-70, and reduced the protein levels of Bcl-2 and Bcl-X(L) in the platinum-resistant ovarian cancer cells. Taken together, these data indicate that β-elemene sensitizes chemoresistant ovarian carcinoma cells to cisplatin-induced apoptosis and that the augmented effect of β-elemene on cisplatin cytotoxicity and sensitivity in resistant ovarian tumor cells is mediated through a mitochondria- and caspase-dependent cell death pathway.