, Volume 19, Issue 4, pp 734–747 | Cite as

Sulforaphane-induced apoptosis involves p53 and p38 in melanoma cells

  • K. Rudolf
  • M. Cervinka
  • E. RudolfEmail author
Original Paper


In malignant melanoma complex reprogramming of cell death and survival pathways leads to increased chemoresistance and poor longer-term survival. Sulforaphane (SF) is a promising isothiocyanate compound occurring in cruciferous plants with reported antiproliferative and proapoptotic activity in several tumor cell lines including melanoma. In this work we investigated the effects of SF in several melanoma cell lines and fresh melanoma cultivates. We found that SF is cytotoxic and induces mitochondrial, caspase-dependent apoptosis in our study model, however with lower efficiency in fresh melanoma cultivates. Moreover, our results indicate that in melanoma cell lines and fresh melanoma cultivates SF induces multiple signaling including oxidative stress-mediated activation of DNA-damage response pathway, changes in p38 kinase activity and enhanced expression of Bax and Puma proapoptotic proteins. In addition, in SF-exposed p53-mutant melanoma cells Puma expression seem to be under p38 control and acts as a compensatory proapoptotic mechanism. Conversely, decreased apoptosis in SF-exposed melanoma cultivates might be attributed to Akt-mediated suppression of p38 as well as p53 activity. Together, our results suggest that SF inhibits growth and proliferation and induces mitochondrial apoptosis both in melanoma cell lines as well as in fresh melanoma cultivates. This proapoptotic effect might be enhanced in combination with Akt inhibitors, in particular in melanoma samples. SF is thus commendable for further preclinical testing, both as a single agent as well as in combination regimens.


Melanoma Sulforaphane p38 Apoptosis Akt ROS 



This work was supported by the program PRVOUK P37/01.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Medical Biology and Genetics, Faculty of Medicine in Hradec KrálovéCharles University in PragueHradec KrálovéCzech Republic

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