Quercetin pretreatment enhances the radiosensitivity of colon cancer cells by targeting Notch-1 pathway.
Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2020 Jan 18. Epub 2020 Jan 18. PMID: 31964531
Cancer stem-like cells are rare immortal cells within tumor, which are thought to play important roles in ionizing radiation (IR) therapy-resistance. Quercetin is a natural flavonoid with potential anti-cancer properties without significant cytotoxicity in normal tissues. In this study, we demonstrated that quercetin-IR combination treatment exhibited more dramatic anti-cancer effect than either quercetin or IR treatment alone via targeting colon cancer stem cells (CSCs) and inhibiting the Notch-1 signaling. These effects were further verified by in vivo studies which showed remarkable decrease of the CSCs markers and the expression of Notch-1 signaling proteins in human colon cancer xenografts in nude mice. Co-treatment with quercetin and low dose of radiation significantly reduced the expressions of all five proteins of γ-secretase complexin HT-29 and DLD-1 cells. In addition, ectopic expression of the Notch intracellular domain (NICD) partly reversed the inhibition effects by the combination therapy. In conclusion, our results indicated that the combination of quercetin (20 μM) and IR (5Gy) might be a promising therapeutic strategy for colon cancer treatment by targeting colon cancer stem-like cells and inhibiting the Notch-1 signaling. In future studies, we intend to further explore the potential therapeutic efficacy of the quercetin-radiation combination treatment in clinical trials.