Ginsenoside Rg3 targets cancer stem cells and tumor angiogenesis to inhibit colorectal cancer progression in vivo.
Int J Oncol. 2018 Jan ;52(1):127-138. Epub 2017 Nov 1. PMID: 29115601
Anti-angiogenic therapy has been successfully applied to treat colorectal cancer (CRC). Ginsenoside Rg3, derived from the Chinese herb ginseng, has anti-vascularization effects and can inhibit tumor growth and metastasis, and can sensitize cancer cells to chemotherapy. Therefore, in the present study, we investigated whether Rg3 could be appropriate for CRC treatment. Growth of CRC cells was assessed by an MTT (methyl thiazolyl tetrazolium) assay in vitro and using orthotopic xenograft models in vivo. mRNA expression was evaluated using real-time PCR. Protein levels were tested by western blotting, flow cytometry and immunohistochemistry. Migration was determined using a wound-healing assay. Stemness was further confirmed using a plate cloneformation assay. We found that Rg3 repressed the growth and stemness of CRC cells both in vitro and in vivo. Rg3 also impaired the migration of CRC cells in vitro. Rg3 downregulated the expressions of angiogenesis-related genes, and repressed the vascularization of CRC xenografts. In addition, Rg3 strengthened the cytotoxicity of 5-Fluorouracil and oxaliplatin against orthotopic xenografts in vivo. Moreover, Rg3 downregulated the expressions of B7-H1 and B7-H3, high expressions of which were associated with reduced overall survival (OS) of CRC patients. Hence, Rg3 not only repressed the growth and stemness of CRC cells, but could also remodel the tumor microenvironment through repressing angiogenesis and promoting antitumor immunity. Therefore, Rg3 could be a novel therapeutic for the CRC treatment.