World journal of gastroenterology

Xiaotan Sanjie decoction attenuates tumor angiogenesis by manipulating Notch-1-regulated proliferation of gastric cancer stem-like cells.

PMID 25278704


To determine the underlying mechanisms of action and influence of Xiaotan Sanjie (XTSJ) decoction on gastric cancer stem-like cells (GCSCs). The gastric cancer cell line MKN-45 line was selected and sorted by FACS using the cancer stem cell marker CD44; the stemness of these cells was checked in our previous study. In an in vitro study, the expression of Notch-1, Hes1, Vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), and Ki-67 in both CD44-positive gastric cancer stem-like cells (GCSCs) and CD44-negative cells was measured by Western blot. The effect of XTSJ serum on cell viability and on the above markers was measured by MTT assay and Western blot, respectively. In an in vivo study, the ability to induce angiogenesis and maintenance of GCSCs in CD44-positive-MKN-45- and CD44-negative-engrafted mice were detected by immunohistochemical staining using markers for CD34 and CD44, respectively. The role of XTSJ decoction in regulating the expression of Notch-1, Hes1, VEGF and Ki-67 was measured by Western blot and real-time polymerase chain reaction. CD44(+) GCSCs showed more cell proliferation and VEGF secretion than CD44-negative cells in vitro, which were accompanied by the high expression of Notch-1 and Hes1 and positively associated with tumor growth (GCSCs vs CD44-negative cells, 2.72 ± 0.25 vs 1.46 ± 0.16, P < 0.05) and microvessel density (MVD) (GCSCs vs CD44-negative cells, 8.15 ± 0.42 vs 3.83 ± 0.49, P < 0.001) in vivo. XTSJ decoction inhibited the viability of both cell types in a dose-dependent manner in vitro. Specifically, a significant difference in the medium- (82.87% ± 6.53%) and high-dose XTSJ groups (77.43% ± 7.34%) was detected at 24 h in the CD44(+) GCSCs group compared with the saline group (95.42% ± 5.76%) and the low-dose XTSJ group (90.74% ± 6.57%) (P < 0.05). However, the efficacy of XTSJ decoction was reduced in the CD44(-) groups; significant differences were only detected in the high-dose XTSJ group at 48 h (78.57% ± 6.94%) and 72 h (72.12% ± 7.68%) when compared with the other CD44- groups (P < 0.05). Notably, these differences were highly consistent with the Notch-1, Hes1, VEGF and Ki-67 expression in these cells. Similarly, in vivo, XTSJ decoction inhibited tumor growth in a dose-dependent manner. A significant difference was observed in the medium- (1.76 ± 0.15) and high-dose XTSJ (1.33 ± 0.081) groups compared with the GCSCs control group (2.72 ± 0.25) and the low-dose XTSJ group (2.51 ± 0.25) (P < 0.05). We also detected a remarkable decrease of MVD in the medium- (7.10 ± 0.60) and high-dose XTSJ (5.99 ± 0.47) groups compared with the GCSC control group (8.15 ± 0.42) and the low-dose XTSJ group (8.14 ± 0.46) (P < 0.05). Additionally, CD44 expression was decreased in these groups [medium- (4.43 ± 0.45) and high-dose XTSJ groups (3.56 ± 0.31) vs the GCSC control (5.96 ± 0.46) and low dose XTSJ groups (5.91 ± 0.38)] (P < 0.05). The significant differences in Notch-1, Hes1, VEGF and Ki-67 expression highly mirrored the results of XTSJ decoction in inhibiting tumor growth, MVD and CD44 expression. Notch-1 may play an important role in regulating the proliferation of GCSCs; XTSJ decoction could attenuate tumor angiogenesis, at least partially, by inhibiting Notch-1.