Inhibitory effect of riccardin D on growth of human non-small cell lung cancer: in vitro and in vivo studies

Xia Xue, De-Fu Sun, Cui-Cui Sun, Hui-Ping Liu, Bin Yue, Cui-Rong Zhao, Hong-Xiang Lou, Xian-Jun Qu
Lung Cancer: Journal of the International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer 2012, 76 (3): 300-8
Riccardin D is a macrocyclic bisbibenzyl compound extracted from liverwort plant Dumortiera hirsuta. Our previous study showed that riccardin D induced apoptosis of human leukemia cells by targeting DNA topoisomerase II (topo II). Riccardin D has been considered as a novel DNA topo II inhibitor and potential chemotherapeutic agent for treatment of cancers. In this study, we evaluated the inhibitory effects of riccardin D on growth of human non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) both in vitro and in vivo. Riccardin D effectively inhibited the proliferation of NSCLC cells as estimated by the MTT assay. Further examination showed that the ability of invasion and migration of NSCLC cells was suppressed on exposure to riccardin D as estimated by the assays of scratch and transwell chamber. The anticancer activity of riccardin D was verified in mice bearing human NSCLC H460 xenografts. Riccardin D injection produced a 44.5% inhibition of cancer growth without apparent signs of toxicity to animals. Further, riccardin D induced apoptosis of NSCLC cells as evidenced by the increases of cells with externalization of phosphatidylserine and terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase dUTP nick-end labeling (TUNEL)-positive in H460 xenografts. The analysis of apoptotic proteins showed that riccardin D activated the caspases cascade signaling pathway as demonstrated by the increases of cleaved caspase-3 and cleaved PARP in NSCLC cells in vitro and in H460 xenografts in mice. The pBR322 DNA relaxation assay indicated that riccardin D inhibited the activity of DNA topo II in H460 and A549 cells, suggesting the mechanism of riccardin D in induction of NSCLC apoptosis. In addition, we studied the activity and expression of matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) in NSCLC cells. The activities of MMP-2 and MMP-9 in supernatants of NSCLC cells were suppressed on exposure to riccardin D as estimated by gelatin zymography assay. The inhibitory effects of riccardin D on expressions of MMP-2 and MMP-9 were verified in H460 xenografts in mice and the decreases of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) and Erk1/2 might associate with the inhibition of MMPs and NSCLC growth. Together, our results suggest that riccardin D has a high inhibitory effect on human NSCLC growth through induction of apoptosis.

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