Pharmacotherapy Department, Graduate School of Biomedical and Health Sciences, Hiroshima University, Hiroshima, Japan; Global Career Design Center, Hiroshima University, Hiroshima, Japan; Pharmacology and Experimental Oncology Unit, Cancer Biology Department, National Cancer Institute, Cairo University, Cairo, Egypt. Electronic address: [Email]
BACKGROUND : Nor-wogonin, a polyhydroxy flavone, has been shown to possess antitumor activity. However, the mechanisms responsible for its antitumor activity are poorly studied. Herein, we investigated the mechanisms of nor-wogonin actions in triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) cells. METHODS : Effects of nor-wogonin on cell proliferation and viability of four TNBC cell lines (MDA-MB-231, BT-549, HCC70, and HCC1806) and two non-tumorigenic breast cell lines (MCF-10A and AG11132) were assessed by BrdU incorporation assays and trypan blue dye exclusion tests. Cell cycle and apoptosis analyses were carried out by flow cytometry. Protein expression was analyzed by immunoblotting. RESULTS : Nor-wogonin significantly inhibited the growth and decreased the viability of TNBC cells; however, it exhibited no or minimal effects in non-tumorigenic breast cells. Nor-wogonin (40 μM) was a more potent anti-proliferative and cytotoxic agent than wogonin (100 μM) and wogonoside (100 μM), which are structurally related to nor-wogonin. The antitumor effects of nor-wogonin can be attributed to cell cycle arrest via reduction of the expression of cyclin D1, cyclin B1, and CDK1. Furthermore, nor-wogonin induced mitochondrial apoptosis, (as evidenced by the increase in % of cells that are apoptotic), decreases in the mitochondrial membrane potential (ΔΨm), increases in Bax/Bcl-2 ratio, and caspase-3 cleavage. Moreover, nor-wogonin attenuated the expression of the nuclear factor kappa-B and activation of signal transducer and activator of transcription 3 pathways, which can be correlated with suppression of transforming growth factor-β-activated kinase 1 in TNBC cells. CONCLUSIONS : These results showed that nor-wogonin might be a potential multi-target agent for TNBC treatment.