Scientific reports

The natural compound magnolol inhibits invasion and exhibits potential in human breast cancer therapy.

PMID 24226295


Invasion and metastasis are the main causes of treatment failure and death in breast cancer. Thus, novel invasion-based therapies such as those involving natural agents are urgently required. In this study, we examined the effects of magnolol (Mag), a compound extracted from medicinal herbs, on breast cancer cells in vitro and in vivo. Highly invasive cancer cells were found to be highly sensitive to treatment. Mag markedly inhibited the activity of highly invasive MDA-MB-231 cells. Furthermore, Mag significantly downregulated matrix metalloproteinase-9 (MMP-9) expression, an enzyme critical to tumor invasion. Mag also inhibited nuclear factor-κB (NF-κB) transcriptional activity and the DNA binding of NF-κB to MMP-9 promoter. These results indicate that Mag suppresses tumor invasion by inhibiting MMP-9 through the NF-κB pathway. Moreover, Mag overcame the promoting effects of phorbol 12-myristate 13-acetate (PMA) on the invasion of MDA-MB-231 cells. Our findings reveal the therapeutic potential and mechanism of Mag against cancer.