International journal of clinical and experimental pathology

EGCG inhibits the growth and tumorigenicity of nasopharyngeal tumor-initiating cells through attenuation of STAT3 activation.

PMID 24966947


A subset of cancer cells, termed cancer stem cells (CSCs) or tumor-initiating cells (TICs) could initiate tumors and are responsible for tumor recurrence and chemotherapeutic resistance. In this study, we enriched TICs in nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC) by the spheres formation and characterized the stem-like signatures such as self-renewal, proliferation, chemoresistance and tumorigenicity. By this method, we investigated that epigallocathechin gallate (EGCG), the major polyphenol in green tea could target TICs and potently inhibit sphere formation, eliminate the stem-like properties and enhance chemosensitivity in NPC through attenuation of STAT3 activation, which could be important in regulating the stemness expression in NPC. Our results demonstrated that STAT3 pathway plays an important role in mediating tumor-initiating capacities in NPC and suggest that inactivation of STAT3 with EGCG may represent a potential preventive and therapeutic approach for NPC.