Medical Oncology

, Volume 28, Issue 1, pp 121–126 | Cite as

Anticancer effect of Lycium barbarum polysaccharides on colon cancer cells involves G0/G1 phase arrest

  • Fang Mao
  • Bingxiu XiaoEmail author
  • Zhen Jiang
  • Junwei Zhao
  • Xia Huang
  • Junming GuoEmail author
Original Paper


Colorectal cancer is one of the most common cancers worldwide. The anticancer effect of Wolfberry (Lycium barbarum) polysaccharide (LBP) on colon cancer cells is largely unknown. To investigate the growth effect of LBP on human colon cancer cell and its possible mechanisms, human colon cancer SW480 and Caco-2 cells were treated with 100–1,000 mg/l LBP for 1–8 days. Cell growth was measured by MTT assay and crystal violet assay. Distribution of the cell cycle was analyzed by flow cytometry. Western blotting was used to indicate changes in the level of cyclins and cyclin-dependent kinases (CDKs). LBP treatment inhibited both colon cancer cell lines in a dose-dependent manner. At concentrations from 400 to 1,000 mg/l, LBP significantly inhibited the growth of SW480 cells (400 mg/l, P < 0.01; 800 and 1,000 mg/l, P < 0.001); while at concentrations from 200 to 1,000 mg/l, LBP significantly inhibited the growth of Caco-2 cells (200 mg/l, P < 0.05; 400–1,000 mg/l, P < 0.001). Crystal violet assay showed that LBP had a long-term anti-proliferative effect. More importantly, cells were arrested at the G0/G1 phase. The changes in cell-cycle-associated protein, cyclins, and CDKs were consistent with the changes in cell-cycle distribution. This is one of the first studies to focus on LBP-induced interruption of the cell cycle in human colon carcinoma cells. The results suggest that LBP is a candidate anticancer agent.


Colon cancer Cell cycle Cell growth Lycium barbarum polysaccharides 



This work was supported by Student Innovation and Open Laboratory Program of Ningbo University (No. Cxxkf 2008-066), Student Research and Innovation Program of Ningbo University (2008) and K. C. Wong Magna Fund in Ningbo University.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Ningbo University School of MedicineNingboChina

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