The antimetastatic potential of thujone, a naturally occurring monoterpene, was evaluated. Metastasis was induced in C57BL/6 mice by injecting highly metastatic B16F-10 melanoma cells through the lateral tail vein. Administration of thujone (1 mg·(kg body weight)–1),
prophylactically and simultaneously with tumor induction, inhibited tumor nodule formation in the lungs by 59.45% and 57.54%, respectively, with an increase in the survival rate (33.67% and 32.16%) of the metastatic tumor bearing animals. These results correlated with biochemical parameters
such as lung collagen hydroxyproline, hexosamine and uronic acid contents, serum sialic acid and γ-glutamyl transpeptidase levels, and histopathological analysis. Treatment with thujone downregulated the production of proinflammatory cytokines such as tumor necrosis factor-α, interleukin
(IL)-1β, IL-6, and granulocyte–monocyte colony-stimulating factor. Thujone administration downregulated the expression of matrix metalloproteinase (MMP)-2, MMP-9, extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK)-1, ERK-2, and vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) and also upregulated
the expression of nm-23, tissue inhibitor of metalloproteinase (TIMP)-1, and TIMP-2 in the lung tissue of metastasis-induced animals. Treatment with thujone inhibited the activity of MMP-2 and MMP-9 in gelatin zymographic analysis. Thujone treatment significantly inhibited the invasion of
B16F-10 melanoma cells across the collagen matrix in a Boyden chamber. Thujone also inhibited the adhesion of tumor cells to collagen-coated microtire plate wells and the migration of B16F-10 melanoma cells across a polycarbonate filter in vitro. These results indicate that Thujone can inhibit
the lung metastasis of B16F-10 cells through inhibition of tumor cell proliferation, adhesion, and invasion, as well as by regulating expression of MMPs, VEGF, ERK-1, ERK-2, TIMPs, nm23, and levels of proinflammatory cytokines and IL-2 in metastatic animals.
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