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Gynura divaricata attenuates tumor growth and tumor relapse after cisplatin therapy in HCC xenograft model through suppression of cancer stem cell growth and Wnt/β-catenin signalling

Yen, Chia-Hung, Lai, Chi-Chung, Shia, Tsu-Hsiang, Chen, Marcelo, Yu, Hsin-Che, Liu, Yu-Peng, Chang, Fang-Rong
Journal of ethnopharmacology 2017
Gynura divaricata subsp. formosana, aerial parts, antineoplastic activity, cell growth, cisplatin, cytotoxicity, hepatitis, herbal medicines, immunoblotting, liver, liver neoplasms, luciferase, models, neoplasm cells, quantitative polymerase chain reaction, relapse, stem cells, therapeutics, traditional medicine
Gynura divaricata subsp. formosana is a widely used traditional herbal medicine for treating liver disorders such as hepatitis and liver cancer in Taiwan.This study was aimed to evaluate the anti-cancer and cancer stabilization effect of water extract of the aerial part of G. divaricata (GD extract) both in vitro and in vivo.Cytotoxicity and anti-proliferative effects of GD extract alone and in combination with cisplatin were determined by alamarBlue and clonogenic assay. Cancer stem cell (CSC) inhibition and the expression of CSC markers were revealed by sphere formation assay and real-time PCR (qPCR). The in vivo anti-cancer effect of GD extract was evaluated in Huh7 xenograft mice model and Ki-67 expression were also measured. The activity of Wnt signalling and the expression level of Wnt target genes and β-catenin were determined by luciferase reporter assay, qPCR, immunoblotting and IHC.Moderate cytotoxicity of GD extract in liver cancer cells was observed. GD extract sensitized Huh7 cells to cisplatin treatment. Interestingly, GD extract inhibited cancer sphere formation and reduced the expression of CSC markers. Importantly, GD extract suppressed Huh7 tumor growth, Ki-67 expression and prolonged the anti-liver cancer effect of cisplatin in vivo. Treatment of GD extract resulted in reductions of Wnt reporter activity and the expression of Wnt target genes. Moreover, suppression of β-catenin were observed in both GD extract treated Huh7 spheres and xenograft tumors.Accordingly, our findings suggest that G. divaricata may target liver CSC by suppressing the Wnt pathway and the combination of G. divaricata and cisplatin could be a candidate regimen for treating HCC.