Growth inhibition and induction of apoptosis in human oral squamous cell carcinoma Tca-8113 cell lines by Shikonin was partly through the inactivation of NF-kappaB pathway.
Phytother Res. 2008 Mar;22(3):407-15. PMID: 18167055
Shikonin, a naphthoquinone pigment isolated from the Chinese herbal therapeutic, Zicao, has been shown to exhibit antioxidant and anticancer effects. In this study, its ability to induce apoptosis in cultured Tca-8113 oral cancer cells was studied. Treatment of the Tca-8113 cells with a variety of concentrations of Shikonin (10-40 microm) resulted in dose- and time-dependent sequences of events marked by apoptosis, as shown by the loss of cell viability, chromatin condensation, internucleosomal DNA fragmentation and sub-G1 phase accumulation. Furthermore, apoptosis in the Tca-8113 cells was accompanied by the activation of protease caspase-8, -9, -3 and low expression of Bcl-2 protein. Interestingly, inactivation of the NF-kappaB pathway was found in shikonin-induced apoptosis in Tca-8113 cells. These results raise the possibility that the anti-tumor effects of Shikonin in Tca-8113 cells are at least partly through the inactivation of the NF-kappaB pathway and subsequent activation of protease caspase family. Pharmacological inhibition of the NF-kappaB activity by Shikonin might be a powerful treatment option for OSCC in which activation of NF-kappaB plays a critical role in tumor growth and progression.