Our previous in vitro studies observed that American ginseng exhi

Our previous in vitro studies observed that American ginseng exhibited anticancer potential in human colorectal cancer cells (19) and (20). PPD, one of the aglycones of American ginseng, has been shown to have cytotoxic activities against different cancer cells such as THP-1 leukemia cells and Caco-2 colorectal cancer cells (21) and (22). Recently, PPD and its analogs have also been reported for their significant cancer cell growth inhibitory effects on human lung adenocarcinoma and oral squamous cell carcinoma. However, previous PPD studies focused on in vitro evaluations

(23) and (24). This study confirmed the anti-CRC effects of PPD in a dose-related manner using an in vivo xenograft nude mice model. Using a panel of colorectal cell lines, we observed that PPD suppressed cell proliferation, BI 6727 cell line arrested specific cell cycle distribution, and promoted apoptosis. This is consistent with a previous observation that PPD and other ginsenoside aglycones are strong promoters of apoptosis (25). Recent pre-clinical research reported

MAPK inhibitor that orally administered PPD exhibited therapeutic activity on a home-sensitive prostate cancer model (26), addressing that the activity benefited from in situ apoptosis and proliferation inhibition. Interestingly, our study observed that PPD inhibited HCT-116 cell proliferation significantly more than the other two colon cancer cells. Based on the p53 status in these cell lines, it is suggested that p53 might contribute to the difference. Previous in vitro studies that involved a PPD metabolized product (compound K or CK) revealed that it had an anticancer effect in human CRC cell lines. CK could induce apoptosis by activation of CAMK-IV/AMPK pathways in HT-29 cells (27). Another report also showed that PPD could suppress the activation of NF-κB pathway and MMP-9

expression, which would inhibit murine CRC cell migration below and invasion. However, activity pathway of PPD as an anticancer agent in human CRC is largely unknown. In a previous study, we reported gene profile and pathway activation after ginsenoside Rg3 treatment. In this study, we observed that the ephrin receptor (Ephs) pathway is the most affected. Ephs are the largest receptors in the tyrosine kinase family of transmembrane proteins, capable of recognizing signals from the cell environment and influencing cell-cell interaction and cell migration (28). To explore the molecular mechanism of the anticancer properties of PPD, we performed a screening test to distinguish the potential targets of PPD using a genome-wide microarray analysis. Hundreds of genes were transcriptionally activated or downregulated after PPD treatment in HCT-116 cells. Among them, attention was paid to the core pathways mainly related cancer and some crucial oncogenes and tumor suppressors. It is conceivable that the potential molecular targets might be those candidate genes that we reported.

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