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Triple negative breast cancer (TNBC) is a breast cancer subtype characterized by the absence of estrogen receptor, progesterone receptor and human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 expression. TNBC cells respond poorly to targeted chemotherapies currently in use and the mortality rate of TNBC remains high. Therefore, it is necessary to identify new chemotherapeutic agents for TNBC. In this study, the anti-cancer effects of 7-α-hydroxyfrullanolide (7HF), derived from Grangea maderaspatana, on MCF-7, MDA-MB-231 and MDA-MB-468 breast cancer cells were assessed using MTT assay. The mode of action of 7HF in TNBC cells treated with 6, 12 and 24 µM of 7HF was determined by flow cytometry and propidium iodide (PI) staining for cell cycle analysis and annexin V/fluorescein isothiocyanate + PI staining for detecting apoptosis. The molecular mechanism of action of 7HF in TNBC cells was investigated by evaluating protein expression using proteomic techniques and western blotting. Subsequently, 7HF exhibited the strongest anti-TNBC activity toward MDA-MB-468 cells and a concomitantly weak toxicity toward normal breast cells. The molecular mechanism of action of low-dose 7HF in TNBC cells primarily involved G2/M-phase arrest through upregulation of the expression of Bub3, cyclin B1, phosphorylated Cdk1 (Tyr 15) and p53-independent p21. Contrastingly, the upregulation of PP2A-A subunit expression may have modulated the suppression of various cell survival proteins such as p-Akt (Ser 473), FoxO3a and β-catenin. The concurrent apoptotic effect of 7HF on the treated cells was mediated via both intrinsic and extrinsic modes through the upregulation of Bax and active cleaved caspase-7-9 expression and downregulation of Bcl-2 and full-length caspase-7-9 expression. Notably, the proteomic approach revealed the upregulation of the expression of pivotal protein clusters associated with G1/S-phase arrest, G2/M-phase transition and apoptosis. Thus, 7HF exhibits promising anti-TNBC activity and at a low dose, it modulates signal transduction associated with G2/M-phase arrest and apoptosis.


Siriphorn Chimplee, Sittiruk Roytrakul, Suchada Sukrong, Theera Srisawat, Potchanapond Graidist, Kanyanatt Kanokwiroon. Anticancer Effects and Molecular Action of 7-α-Hydroxyfrullanolide in G2/M-Phase Arrest and Apoptosis in Triple Negative Breast Cancer Cells. Molecules (Basel, Switzerland). 2022 Jan 09;27(2)

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PMID: 35056723

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