Ursolic acid appears to be an effective therapeutic agent against colon cancer. - GreenMedInfo Summary
Ursolic acid suppresses the invasive potential of colorectal cancer cells by regulating the TGF-β1/ZEB1/miR-200c signaling pathway.
Oncol Lett. 2019 Sep ;18(3):3274-3282. Epub 2019 Jul 11. PMID: 31452805
Ursolic acid (UA) is a biologically active compound, commonly used in traditional Chinese medicine (TCM). It has been reported to exhibit strong anticancer properties against a variety of cancers. Our previous studies showed that UA promoted apoptosis in colorectal cancer (CRC) cells and inhibited cellular proliferation and angiogenesis. However, the effect and underlying molecular mechanism of UA in CRC progression remain unclear. In the present study, the role of UA in suppressing the migration and invasion of human colon cancer HCT116 and HCT-8 cells was investigated, using Transwell assays. In addition, to evaluate whether the anticancer properties of UA were mediated by the regulation of a double-negative feedback loop consisting of the transforming growth factor-β1 (TGF-β1)/zinc finger E-box-binding homeobox (ZEB1) pathway and microRNA (miR)-200a/b/c, reverse transcription-quantitative PCR and western blot analysis were performed. The results indicated that UA treatment significantly suppressed cellular growth, migration and invasion in HCT116 and HCT-8 cells in a dose-dependent manner. Furthermore, following UA treatment, several crucial mediators of the TGF-β1 signaling pathway, including TGF-β1, phosphorylated (p)-Smad2/3, p-focal adhesion kinase and ZEB1, were significantly downregulated in the HCT116 and HCT-8 cell lines compared with the control group. Furthermore, the ratio of N-cadherin/E-cadherin, two proteins directly downstream of the TGF-β1 signaling pathway, was found to be downregulated in UA treated CRC cells. Finally, UA significantly upregulated miR200a/b/c, with miR-200c exhibiting the highest increase in expression levelsfollowing UA treatment. Collectively, the present study suggested that inhibition of CRC cell invasion by UA occurred via regulation of the TGF-β1/ZEB1/miR-200c signaling network, which may be one of the mechanisms by which UA appears to be an effective therapeutic agent against colon cancer.