Combination of 2 Bioactive Compounds for Treatment of Breast Cancer: Triterpenoid Cucurbitacin I and Phenolic CAPE

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Karakuş F., Yilmaz K., Eyol E., ÜNÜVAR S.

NATURAL PRODUCT COMMUNICATIONS, vol.14, no.6, 2019 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 14 Issue: 6
  • Publication Date: 2019
  • Doi Number: 10.1177/1934578x19857492
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Scopus
  • Keywords: caffeic acid phenethyl ester, breast cancer, herbal medicine, combination therapy, cucurbitacin-I, ACID PHENETHYL ESTER, NF-KAPPA-B, APOPTOSIS, ACTIVATION, PROLIFERATION, CELLS
  • Van Yüzüncü Yıl University Affiliated: No


It has been demonstrated that both cucurbitacin I (Cu I) and caffeic acid phenethyl ester (CAPE) have anticancer activities. The current study aimed to examine the proliferation, migration, and colony formation actions of Cu I and CAPE on MCF-7 and MDA-MB-231 human breast cancer cells. The antimigration, antiproliferative, and colony inhibition effects of different dosages of Cu I, CAPE, and Cu I + CAPE on cells were determined by the 3-(4,5-Dimethylthiazol-2-yl)-2,5-Diphenyltetrazolium Bromide (MTT) cell viability assay, wound healing, and colony formation assays, respectively. Compared with single treatment, combination of 2 bioactive compounds enhanced the anticancer activity. When Cu I and CAPE were combined, a strong inhibitor effect was shown on cell growth, colony formation, and cell migration compared with the compounds used singly. The concomitant treatment with Cu I and CAPE showed stronger antiproliferative activities on both MCF-7 and MDA-MB-231 cells compared with individual treatment with either Cu I or CAPE. Caffeic acid phenethyl ester is a specific inhibitor of Nuclear factor-kappa B (NF-kappa B). It shows anticancer activity depending on this inhibition. It is a bioactive phenolic compound that is derived from propolis. Cucurbitacin I is a selective Januskinase/signal transducer and a transcription-3 signal pathway inhibitor. Combination of these 2 natural anticancer compounds is beneficial in the treatment of cancer, as well as the side effects associated with classical chemotherapeutics not being observed with the use of these compounds.