Abstract Title:

Luteolin impairs hypoxia adaptation and progression in human breast and colon cancer cells.

Abstract Source:

Eur J Pharmacol. 2020 Jun 8 ;881:173210. Epub 2020 Jun 8. PMID: 32526242

Abstract Author(s):

Elena Monti, Emanuela Marras, Pamela Prini, Marzia Bruna Gariboldi

Article Affiliation:

Elena Monti


Hypoxia-inducible factors (HIFs) are the force which drives hypoxic cancer cells to a more aggressive and resistant phenotype in a number of solid tumors, including colorectal and breast cancer. Results from recent studies suggest a role for HIF-1 in immune evasion and cancer stem cell phenotype promotion, establishing HIF-1 as a potential therapeutic target. Thus, identifying new compounds that might inhibit HIF1 activity, or at least exert antiproliferative effects that are unaffected by HIF1-dependent adaptations, is an attractive goal for the management of hypoxic tumors. Here we show that the flavonoid luteolin exerts a significant cytotoxic effect on the colon cancer cell line HCT116 and the breast adenocarcinoma cell line MDA-MB231, by inducing both apoptotic and necrotic cell death, and that this effect is not impaired by HIF-1 activation. In these cells, luteolin also stimulates autophagy; however this seems to be part of a protective response, rather than contribute to the cytotoxic effect. Interestingly, luteolin induces a decrease in HIF-1 transcriptional activity. This is accompanied by a decrease in the levels of protein markers of stemness and invasion, and by a reduction of migratory capacity of the cells. Taken together, our results suggest that luteolin could be developed into a useful therapeutic agent aimed at hypoxic tumors.

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