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Artemisinin inhibits gastric cancer cell proliferation through upregulation of p53


Recent population studies suggest that the use of artemisinin is associated with reduced incidence and improved prognosis of certain cancers. In the current study, we assessed the effect of artemisinin on gastric cancer cells (AGS and MKN74 cells). We found that artemisinin inhibited growth and modulated expression of cell-cycle regulators in these cells. Treatment with artemisinin was also associated with induction of p27kip1 and p21kip1, two negative cell-cycle regulators. Furthermore, we revealed that artemisinin treatment led to an increased expression of p53. Taken together, these results provide evidence for a mechanism that may contribute to the antineoplastic effects of artemisinin suggested by recent population studies and justify further work to explore potential roles for it in gastric cancer prevention and treatment.

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Conflicts of interest


Author information

Correspondence to Qin-Xian Zhang.

Additional information

Hong-Tao Zhang and Yun-Long Wang contributed equally.

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Supplementary Figure 6

(A-B) Real-time PCR (A) and Western blot (B) analysis of p53 in MKN74 cells transfected with siRNA oligos against p53 or scramble siRNA (Ctrl). (C-D) Cell proliferation activity was measured by MTT (C) or BrdU (D) incorporation assays in MKN74 cells. Cells were pre-transfected with siRNA oligos against p53 or scramble siRNA (Ctrl) (JPEG 81 kb)

Supplementary Figure 7

A: Western blot analysis of phosphorylated ERK1/2 in MKN74 cells treated with artemisinin for 1 h. Total ERK1/2 and GAPDH were set as loading controls. B-C: Real-time PCR (B) and western blot (C) analysis of p53 mRNA and protein levels in MKN74 cells in the absence or presence of U0126. Cells were pre-treated with U0126 for 4 h and then exposed to artemisinin for another 24 h. (JPEG 74 kb)

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Zhang, H., Wang, Y., Zhang, J. et al. Artemisinin inhibits gastric cancer cell proliferation through upregulation of p53. Tumor Biol. 35, 1403–1409 (2014).

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  • Artemisinin
  • p53
  • Gastric cancer
  • Cell-cycle regulators