Artesunate induces apoptosis and inhibits the proliferation, stemness, and tumorigenesis of leukemia.
Ann Transl Med. 2020 Jun ;8(12):767. PMID: 32647692
Background: Leukemia is characterized by the presence of highly malignant tumors formed in the hematopoietic system. Artesunate (Art), a semi-synthetic derivative of artemisinin, is commonly used as an antimalarial drug and has been proven to possess anticancer potential.
Methods: In this study, the effect of Art on the proliferation and stemness of human acute promyelocyte leukemia HL-60 cells and acute myeloid leukemia KG1a cells was investigated. Flow cytometry, colony formation assay, the protein expressive levels of survivin, P21, cleaved caspase 3, Bax, Bcl-2, Ki67 were detected the effect of Art on HL-60 and KG1a cells proliferation and apoptosis. At the same time, cell sphere formation assay and the protein expressive levels of CD44, SOX2, ALDH1 and OCT4 were used to analyze the effects of Art on cancer stem cell-like property. The orthotopic xenograft mouse models were established by using KG1a cells in BALB/c athymic nude mice. Tumor weigh was detected. The protein levels of survivin and Ki67 were detected by immunohistochemistry assays.
Results: Art induced cell apoptosis and inhibited cell proliferation and stemness in a dose-dependent manner. In the meantime, the results exhibited that Art inhibited the growth and stemness of transplanted tumors via the suppression of the MEK/ERK and PI3K/Akt pathway.
Conclusions: Our present study provides new insights into the mechanisms of Art's anticancer potential in leukemia.