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BioMed Research International
Volume 2014 (2014), Article ID 107671, 8 pages
Research Article

Emodin Augments Cisplatin Cytotoxicity in Platinum-Resistant Ovarian Cancer Cells via ROS-Dependent MRP1 Downregulation

1Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Renji Hospital, School of Medicine, Shanghai Jiaotong University, Shanghai 200127, China
2Department of Cell Biology, Key Laboratory of the Education Ministry for Cell Differentiation and Apoptosis, Institute of Medical Sciences, School of Medicine, Shanghai Jiaotong University, Shanghai 200025, China
3Department of Medicine and UC San Diego Moores Cancer Center, University of California, La Jolla, San Diego, CA 92093, USA

Received 8 June 2014; Revised 17 September 2014; Accepted 18 September 2014; Published 14 December 2014

Academic Editor: Zhenfeng Duan

Copyright © 2014 Jun Ma et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The intracellular level of reactive oxygen species (ROS) is closely associated with chemosensitivity of cancer cells. Overexpression of ATP binding cassette transporter MRP1 is correlated with resistance to platinum drugs. In this study, we tested the hypothesis that emodin, a potent ROS generator, may increase sensitivity of cisplatin-(cDDP-) resistant ovarian carcinoma cells to cDDP cytotoxicity via ROS-mediated suppression of MRP1 expression. Using the isogenic pair of the human ovarian carcinoma cell line COC1 and its cDDP resistant variant COC1/DDP, we found that ROS level in the cDDP-sensitive ovarian cancer cells was significantly higher than that in the cDDP-resistant cells. Emodin enhanced ROS production in COC1/DDP cells and consequently sensitized them to cDDP-induced apoptosis. These effects were reversed by addition of the antioxidant N-acetyl-L-cysteine (NAC). Cotreatment with emodin and cDDP inhibited the tumor growth in vivo by increasing tumor cell apoptosis. The emodin-enhanced cDDP cytotoxicity was attributable to downregulation of multidrug resistance-related protein 1 (MRP1) expression. Together, these results suggest that emodin could act as an adjunct to enhance the anticancer effect of cDDP likely through ROS-related downregulation of MRP1 expression, and may be of therapeutic potential in cDDP-refractory ovarian carcinomas.