Child's nervous system : ChNS : official journal of the International Society for Pediatric Neurosurgery

Inhibition of phosphorylated STAT3 by cucurbitacin I enhances chemoradiosensitivity in medulloblastoma-derived cancer stem cells.

PMID 22249380


CD133 (PROM1) is a potential marker for cancer stem cells (CSCs), including those found in brain tumors. Recently, medulloblastoma (MB)-derived CD133-positive cells were found to have CSC-like properties and were proposed to be important contributors to tumorigenicity, cancer progression, and chemoradioresistance. However, the biomolecular pathways and therapeutic targets specific to MB-derived CSCs remain unresolved. In the present study, we isolated CD133(+) cells from MB cell lines and determined that they showed increased tumorigenicity, radioresistance, and higher expression of both embryonic stem cell-related and drug resistance-related genes compared to CD133(-) cells. Bioinformatics analysis suggested that the STAT3 pathway might be important in MB and CD133(+) cells. To evaluate the effects of inhibiting the STAT3 pathway, MB-derived CD133(+/-) cells were treated with the potent STAT3 inhibitor, cucurbitacin I. Treatment with cucurbitacin I significantly suppressed the CSC-like properties and stemness gene signature of MB-derived CD133(+) cells. Furthermore, cucurbitacin I treatment increased the apoptotic sensitivity of MB-derived CD133(+) cells to radiation and chemotherapeutic drugs. Notably, cucurbitacin I demonstrated synergistic effects with ionizing radiation to inhibit tumorigenicity in MB-CD133(+)-inoculated mice. These results indicate that the STAT3 pathway plays a key role in mediating CSC properties in MB-derived CD133(+) cells. Targeting STAT3 with cucurbitacin I may therefore represent a novel therapeutic approach for treating malignant brain tumors.

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Cucurbitacin I hydrate, ≥95% (HPLC), solid
C30H42O7 · xH2O