AIMS: Tumor cells metastasis as well as proliferation are important factors that can substantially determines the prognosis of cancer. In particular, epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) is key phenomena which can cause tumor cell transition into other organs by promoting the disruption of the cell-cell junctions. Because oxymatrine (OMT) have been reported to attenuate the tumor growth, we investigated whether OMT can down-regulate EMT process in tumor cells. We also focused on transforming growth factor-β (TGF-β)-induced EMT process because EMT process can be significantly induced by this growth factor.
MAIN METHODS: The cell viability was measured by MTT and real time cell analysis (RTCA) assay. The expression levels of various proteins involved in the regulation of EMT and Akt/mTOR/PI3K signaling pathway were evaluated by Western blot analysis. mRNA levels of several important EMT markers were analyzed by reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR). The effects of OMT on the cellular invasion and migration were evaluated by RTCA, wound healing assay, and boyden chamber assays.
KEY FINDINGS: OMT suppressed the expression of both constitutive and TGF-β-induced mesenchymal markers, such as fibronectin, vimentin, MMP-9, MMP-2, N-cadherin, Twist, and Snail, but induced the levels of epithelial markers. Moreover, OMT down-regulated oncogenic PI3K/Akt/mTOR pathways which lead to a significant attenuation of invasive and migratory potential of lung cancer cells.
SIGNIFICANCE: Overall, our study established a novel anti-metastatic role of OMT against human lung cancer cells.