Emodin induces apoptosis of human breast cancer cells by modulating the expression of apoptosis-related genes

Oncology Letters
Cong ZuXinyu Zheng


The aim of this study was to investigate the effects of emodin on the proliferation of human breast cancer cells Bcap-37 and ZR-75-30. Cell viability following emodin treatment was assessed by 3-(4,5-dimethylthiazol-2-yl)-2,5-diphenyltetrazolium bromide (MTT) assay. The effects of emodin on apoptosis were determined by flow cytometry using Annexin V-fluorescein isothiocyanate and propidium iodide staining. Quantitative polymerase chain reaction and western blot analysis were used to determine changes in the expression of apoptotic genes and protein, respectively. The effect of emodin on the invasiveness of breast cancer cells was evaluated by Matrigel invasion assay. Treatment of breast cancer cells Bcap-37 and ZR-75-30 with emodin was observed to inhibit the growth and induced apoptosis in a time- and dose-dependent manner. Emodin reduced the level of Bcl-2 and increased levels of cleaved caspase-3, PARP, p53 and Bax. These findings indicate that emodin induces growth inhibition and apoptosis in human breast cancer cells. Emodin may be a potential therapeutic agent for the treatment of breast cancer.


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