, Volume 39, Issue 2, pp 161–173 | Cite as

Apigenin suppresses the senescence-associated secretory phenotype and paracrine effects on breast cancer cells

  • Kevin M. Perrott
  • Christopher D. Wiley
  • Pierre-Yves Desprez
  • Judith CampisiEmail author
Original Article


Apigenin (4′,5,7,-trihydroxyflavone) is a flavonoid found in certain herbs, fruits, and vegetables. Apigenin can attenuate inflammation, which is associated with many chronic diseases of aging. Senescent cells—stressed cells that accumulate with age in mammals—display a pro-inflammatory senescence-associated secretory phenotype (SASP) that can drive or exacerbate several age-related pathologies, including cancer. Flavonoids, including apigenin, were recently shown to reduce the SASP of a human fibroblast strain induced to senesce by bleomycin. Here, we confirm that apigenin suppresses the SASP in three human fibroblast strains induced to senesce by ionizing radiation, constitutive MAPK (mitogen-activated protein kinase) signaling, oncogenic RAS, or replicative exhaustion. Apigenin suppressed the SASP in part by suppressing IL-1α signaling through IRAK1 and IRAK4, p38-MAPK, and NF-κB. Apigenin was particularly potent at suppressing the expression and secretion of CXCL10 (IP10), a newly identified SASP factor. Further, apigenin-mediated suppression of the SASP substantially reduced the aggressive phenotype of human breast cancer cells, as determined by cell proliferation, extracellular matrix invasion, and epithelial-mesenchymal transition. Our results support the idea that apigenin is a promising natural product for reducing the impact of senescent cells on age-related diseases such as cancer.


Flavonoids Human fibroblasts Proliferation Invasion IL-6 IL-1A IRAK1/4 NF-κB 



We thank Dr. Remi-Martin Laberge for comments and discussions. This work was supported by the SENS Research Foundation to KP and by NIH grants AG009909 and AG017242 to JC.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest.

Supplementary material

11357_2017_9970_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (23 kb)
Figure S1 Apigenin down-regulates the SASP in BJ fibroblasts. (A) Primary human BJ fibroblasts were induced to senesce (10 Gy X-irradiation) and immediately treated with increasing concentrations of apigenin for 10 days. CM were collected and analyzed for IL-6 secretion. (B) We investigated the levels of IL-8, GROA, IL-6 and IP10 secreted by treated (apigenin) and untreated (DMSO), NS or senescent BJ fibroblasts. Samples were in quadruplicate and levels of individual cytokines in senescent samples were normalized to the levels in DMSO-treated NS cells. (PDF 23 kb)
11357_2017_9970_MOESM2_ESM.pdf (27 kb)
Figure S2 Apigenin reduces cytokine secretion of senescent IMR90 and BJ fibroblasts. (A) Primary IMR90 (PD 37) and (B) primary BJ (PD 34) human fibroblasts were induced to senesce by IR, and treated with apigenin or DMSO. CM were collected and the levels of 51 cytokines were analyzed by Luminex. Samples were in quadruplicate and levels of individual cytokines in senescent samples were normalized to the levels in DMSO-treated NS cells. (PDF 26 kb)
11357_2017_9970_MOESM3_ESM.pdf (15 kb)
Figure S3 Effect of apigenin on the expression of major SASP factors in BJ fibroblasts. Using qPCR we determined the mRNA levels of major SASP factors in DMSO- and apigenin-treated non-senescent and senescent BJ fibroblasts (IL-6, IL-8, and GROA). IL-1A and IL-1B were also investigated at the mRNA level. (PDF 15 kb)
11357_2017_9970_MOESM4_ESM.pdf (19 kb)
Figure S4 Apigenin reduces the senescence-induced inflammatory pathway activation. (A) IL-6 secretion of cells infected with a lentivirus NF-κB-luciferase reporter construct, induced to senesce by IR in the presence of apigenin, is shown. (B) NF-κB reporter activation in the senescent cells in (A) was measured by luminescence using the Promega Luciferase Assay System. (C) Induction of IL-6 secretion in NS and senescent HCA2 cells upon administration of three concentrations of recombinant IL-1A was measured by AlphaLISA. (PDF 18 kb)


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Copyright information

© American Aging Association 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kevin M. Perrott
    • 1
  • Christopher D. Wiley
    • 1
  • Pierre-Yves Desprez
    • 2
  • Judith Campisi
    • 1
    • 3
    Email author
  1. 1.Buck Institute for Research on AgingNovatoUSA
  2. 2.California Pacific Medical Center Research InstituteSan FranciscoUSA
  3. 3.Lawrence Berkeley National LaboratoryBerkeleyUSA

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