Molecular medicine reports

Umbelliferone exhibits anticancer activity via the induction of apoptosis and cell cycle arrest in HepG2 hepatocellular carcinoma cells.

PMID 25997538


Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is a highly malignant tumor, associated with poor patient prognoses, and high rates of morbidity and mortality. To date, the therapeutic strategies available for the treatment of HCC remain limited. The present study aimed to elucidate the anticancer activity of umbelliferone, a naturally occurring coumarin derivative isolated from Ferula communis, against the HepG2 HCC cell line. A 3‑(4,5‑dimthylthaizol‑2‑yl)‑2,5, diphenyltetrazolium bromide assay was used to evaluate cell viability following umbelliferone treatment, and the effects of umbelliferone on cell cycle progression and apoptosis were evaluated using flow cytometry. The presence of morphological features characteristic of apoptosis, including cell shrinkage, membrane blebbing, nuclear condensation and apoptotic body formation, were evaluated in HepG2 cells following umbelliferone treatment. Cell cycle analysis conducted via propidium iodide (PI) staining indicated that umbelliferone treatment induced cell cycle arrest at S phase in HepG2 cells. Analysis with Annexin V and PI staining revealed that umbelliferone induced apoptotic events in HepG2 cells in a concentration‑dependant manner (0‑50 µM). Umbelliferone also induced dose‑dependant DNA fragmentation. In conclusion, umbelliferone was found to exhibit significant anticancer effects via the induction of apoptosis, cell cycle arrest and DNA fragmentation in HepG2 cancer cells.