Chemotherapy is the main treatment for patients with breast cancer metastases, but natural alternatives have been receiving attention for their potential as novel antitumor reagents. Amplexicaule A (APA) is a flavonoid glucoside isolated from rhizomes of Polygonum amplexicaule D. Don var. sinense Forb (PADF). We found that APA has anti-tumor effects in a breast cancer xenograft mouse model and induces apoptosis in breast cancer cell lines. APA increased levels of cleaved caspase-3,-8,-9 and PARP, which resulted from suppression of MCL-1 and BCL-2 expression in the cells. APA also inactivated the Akt/mTOR pathway in breast cancer cells. Thus, APA exerts a strong anti-tumor effect on breast cancer cells, most likely through induction of apoptosis. Our study is the first to identify this novel anti-tumor compound and provides a new strategy for isolation and separation of single compounds from herbs.
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