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Regulation of Wnt signaling activity for growth suppression induced by quercetin in 4T1 murine mammary cancer cells

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Quercetin is a promising chemopreventive agent against cancer that inhibits tumor progression by inducing cell cycle arrest and promoting apoptotic cell death. Recently, the Wnt/β-catenin signaling pathway has been implicated in mammary tumorigenesis, where its abnormal activation is associated with the development of breast cancer. Thus, the objective of this study was to examine the biological activities of quercetin against mammary cancer cells, and to determine whether quercetin could regulate the Wnt/β-catenin signaling pathway. Quercetin showed dosedependent inhibition of cell growth and induced apoptosis in 4T1 cells. Treatment of 20 µM quercetin suppressed ~50% of basal TopFlash luciferase activity. Moreover, the inhibitory effect of quercetin on the Wnt/β-catenin signaling pathway was confirmed by the reduced stabilization of the β-catenin protein. Among various antagonists screened for the Wnt/β-catenin signaling pathway, the expression of DKK1, 2 and 3 was induced after treatment with 20 µM of quercetin. Stimulation with recombinant DKK1 protein, showed suppressive cell growth of mammary cancer cells instead of quercetin. When 4T1 cells were treated with recombinant Wnt3a or LiCl along with quercetin, both stimulators for the Wnt/β-catenin signaling pathway were able to restore the suppressed cell viability by quercetin. Thus, our data suggest that quercetin exerts its anticancer activity through the downregulation of Wnt/β-catenin signaling activity. These results indicate for the first time that quercetin decreases cell viability and induces apoptosis in murine mammary cancer cells, which is possibly mediated by DKK-dependent inhibition of the Wnt/β-catenin signaling pathway. In conclusion, our findings suggest that quercetin has great potential value as chemotherapeutic agent for cancer treatment, especially in breast cancer controlled by Wnt/β-catenin signaling activity.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Department of Surgery, Chuncheon Sacred Heart Hospital, College of Medicine, Chuncheon, Republic of Korea 2: Institute for Skeletal Aging and Orthopaedic Surgery, Chuncheon Sacred Heart Hospital, Chuncheon, Republic of Korea 3: Department of Food and Nutrition, Hallym University, Chuncheon, Republic of Korea 4: Infectious Diseases Medical Research Center, Chuncheon, Republic of Korea

Publication date: January 1, 2013

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  • The International Journal of Oncology provides an international forum for the publication of the latest, cutting-edge research in the broad area of oncology and cancer treatment. The journal accepts original high quality works and reviews on all aspects of oncology research including carcinogenesis, metastasis, epidemiology, chemotherapy and viral oncology. Through fair and efficient peer review, the journal is dedicated to publishing top tier research in the field, offering authors rapid publication as well as high standards of copy-editing and production. The International Journal of Oncology is published on a monthly basis in both print and early online.
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