A potential anti-tumor herbal medicine, Corilagin, inhibits ovarian cancer cell growth through blocking the TGF-beta signaling pathways

Jia Lq, Jin Hy, Zhou Jy, et al. BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine 2013, 13:33 doi:10.1186/1472-6882-13-33
Phyllanthus niruri L. is a well-known hepatoprotective and antiviral medicinal herb. Recently, we identified Corilagin as a major active component with anti-tumor activity in this herbal medicine. Corilagin is a member of the tannin family that has been discovered in many medicinal plants and has been used as an anti-inflammatory agent. However, there have been few reports of the anti-tumor effects of Corilagin, and its anti-tumor mechanism has not been investigated clearly. The aim of the present study is to investigate the anticancer properties of Corilagin in ovarian cancer cells.
The ovarian cancer cell lines SKOv3ip, Hey and HO-8910PM were treated with Corilagin and analyzed by Sulforhodamine B (SRB) cell proliferation assay, flow cytometry, and reverse phase protein array (RPPA). Corilagin was delivered intraperitoneally to mice bearing SKOv3ip xenografts.
Corilagin inhibited the growth of the ovarian cancer cell lines SKOv3ip and Hey, with IC50 values of less than 30 muM, while displaying low toxicity against normal ovarian surface epithelium cells, with IC50 values of approximately 160 muM. Corilagin induced cell cycle arrest at the G2/M stage and enhanced apoptosis in ovarian cancer cells. Immunoblotting assays demonstrated that Cyclin B1, Myt1, Phospho-cdc2 and Phospho-Weel were down-regulated after Corilagin treatment. Xenograft tumor growth was significantly lower in the Corilagin-treated group compared with the untreated control group (P <0.05). More interestingly, Corilagin inhibited TGF-beta secretion into the culture supernatant of all tested ovarian cancer cell lines and blocked the TGF-beta-induced stabilization of Snail. In contrast, a reduction of TGF-beta secretion was not observed in cancer cells treated with the cytotoxic drug Paclitaxel, suggesting that Corilagin specifically targets TGF-beta secretion. Corilagin blocked the activation of both the canonical Smad and non-canonical ERK/AKT pathways.
Corilagin extracted from Phyllanthus niruri L. acts as a natural, effective therapeutic agent against the growth of ovarian cancer cells via targeted action against the TGF-beta/AKT/ERK/Smad signaling pathways.


Corilagin from Alchornea glandulosa is a polyphenol and a member of the tannin family and displays the ability to inhibit NFκB pathway activation and also prevent the release of TNF-α. Corilagin can inhibit the proliferation of human pancreatic cancer Bxpc-3 cells notably, the S phase arrest and the induction of apoptosis (Lu et al, 2005).
Corilagin can inhibit the growth of Hep-2 cells effectively, the effect may have relation to the S phase arrest and the induction of apoptosis (Li et al, 2005)
Lu H, Zhang Z-b, Fu X-g. The Primary Study on the Inhibition Effect of Corilagin on Human Pancreatic Cancer Cell Line Bxpc-3 Cells. Journal of Jinzhou Medical College 2005-03. DOI: CNKI: SUN:JZYX.0.2005-03-011
Li Hua, Meng Y, Kang J. Experimental Research on the Cytotoxic Effect of Corilagin on Human Laryngeal Carcinoma Hep-2 Cell in Vitro. Journal of Jinzhou Medical College 2005-04. DOI: cnki: ISSN:1000-5161.0.2005-04-010

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