Human breast cancers cells overexpressing HER2/neu are more aggressive tumors with poor prognosis, and resistance to chemotherapy. This study investigates antiproliferation effects of anthraquinone derivatives of rhubarb root on human breast cancer cells. Of 7 anthraquinone derivatives, only rhein showed antiproliferative and apoptotic effects on both HER2-overexpressing MCF-7 (MCF-7/HER2) and control vector MCF-7 (MCF-7/VEC) cells. Rhein induced dose- and time-dependent manners increase in caspase-9-mediated apoptosis correlating with activation of ROS-mediated activation of NF-κB- and p53-signaling pathways in both cell types. Therefore, this study highlighted rhein as processing anti-proliferative activity against HER2 overexpression or HER2-basal expression in breast cancer cells and playing important roles in apoptotic induction of human breast cancer cells.
Evidence-based Complementary and Alternative Medicine