Molecular medicine reports

Cryptotanshinone suppresses the proliferation and induces the apoptosis of pancreatic cancer cells via the STAT3 signaling pathway.

PMID 26459366


Pancreatic cancer remains a challenging disease worldwide. Cryptotanshinone (CPT) is one of the active constituents of Salvia miltiorrhiza Bunge and exhibits significant antitumor activities in several human cancer cells. However, the efficacy and molecular mechanism of CPT in pancreatic cancer remains to be elucidated. In the present study, the effect of CPT on the proliferation, apoptosis and cell cycle of human pancreatic cancer cell BxPC‑3 cells was evaluated. The results demonstrated that CPT inhibited proliferation of the BxPC‑3 cells in a concentration‑dependent manner, and significantly induced cell apoptosis and cell cycle arrest. The protein levels of cleaved caspase‑3, caspase‑9 and poly ADP ribose polymerase were upregulated, while the levels of c‑myc, survivin and cyclin D1 were downregulated following treatment with CPT. In addition, CPT decreased the activities of signal transducer and activator of transcription 3 (STAT3) and several upstream regulatory signaling pathways after 24 h. However, CPT only inhibited the phosphorylation of STAT3 Tyr705 within 30 min, without marked effects on the phosphorylation of the other proteins. These results suggested that the inhibition of STAT3 activity by CPT was directly and independent of the upstream regulators in human pancreatic cancer. The present study demonstrated that CPT exerts anticancer effects by inducing apoptosis and cell cycle arrest via inhibition of the STAT3 signaling pathway in human BxPC-3 cells.