, Volume 372, Issue 1-2, pp 83-94
Date: 13 Sep 2012

EGCG inhibits growth of human pancreatic tumors orthotopically implanted in Balb C nude mice through modulation of FKHRL1/FOXO3a and neuropilin

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Human pancreatic cancer is currently one of the fourth leading causes of cancer-related mortality with a 5-year survival rate of less than 5 %. Since pancreatic carcinoma is largely refractory to conventional therapies, there is a strong medical need for the development of novel and innovative cancer preventive strategies. The forkhead transcription factors of the O class (FOXO) play a major role in cell proliferation, angiogenesis, metastasis, and tumorigenesis. The objectives of this study were to examine whether FKHRL1/FOXO3a modulates antitumor activity of (−)-epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG), an active ingredient in green tea, in pancreatic cancer model in vivo. PANC-1 cells were orthotopically implanted into Balb c nude mice and gavaged with EGCG after tumor formation. Cell proliferation and apoptosis were measured by Ki67 and TUNEL staining, respectively. The expression of PI3K, AKT, ERK, and FOXO3a/FKHRL1 and its target genes were measured by the western blot analysis and/or q-RT-PCR. FOXO-DNA binding was measured by gel shift assay. EGCG-treated mice showed significant inhibition in tumor growth which was associated with reduced phosphorylation of ERK, PI3K, AKT, and FKHRL1/FOXO3a, and modulation of FOXO target genes. EGCG induced apoptosis by upregulating Bim and activating caspase-3. EGCG modulated markers of cell cycle (p27/KIP1), angiogenesis (CD31, VEGF, IL-6, IL-8, SEMA3F, and HIF1α), and metastasis (MMP2 and MMP7). The inhibition of VEGF by EGCG was associated with suppression of neuropilin. EGCG inhibited epithelial-mesenchymal transition by upregulating the expression of E-cadherin and inhibiting the expression of N-cadherin and Zeb1. These data suggest that EGCG inhibits pancreatic cancer orthotopic tumor growth, angiogenesis, and metastasis which are associated with inhibition of PI3K/AKT and ERK pathways and activation of FKHRL1/FOXO3a. As a conclusion, EGCG can be used for the prevention and/or treatment of pancreatic cancer.