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Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Volume 2011 (2011), Article ID 129045, 11 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2011/129045
Research Article

The Efficacy of Dandelion Root Extract in Inducing Apoptosis in Drug-Resistant Human Melanoma Cells

1Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, University of Windsor, 401 Sunset Avenue, Windsor, ON, Canada N9B 3P4
2Windsor Regional Cancer Centre, 2220 Kildare Road, Windsor, ON, Canada N8W 2X3

Received 22 June 2010; Revised 12 November 2010; Accepted 8 December 2010

Copyright © 2011 S. J. Chatterjee 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.

Abstract

Notoriously chemoresistant melanoma has become the most prevalent form of cancer for the 25–29 North American age demographic. Standard treatment after early detection involves surgical excision (recurrence is possible), and metastatic melanoma is refractory to immuno-, radio-, and most harmful chemotherapies. Various natural compounds have shown efficacy in killing different cancers, albeit not always specifically. In this study, we show that dandelion root extract (DRE) specifically and effectively induces apoptosis in human melanoma cells without inducing toxicity in noncancerous cells. Characteristic apoptotic morphology of nuclear condensation and phosphatidylserine flipping to the outer leaflet of the plasma membrane of A375 human melanoma cells was observed within 48 hours. DRE-induced apoptosis activates caspase-8 in A375 cells early on, demonstrating employment of an extrinsic apoptotic pathway to kill A375 cells. Reactive Oxygen Species (ROS) generated from DRE-treated isolated mitochondria indicates that natural compounds in DRE can also directly target mitochondria. Interestingly, the relatively resistant G361 human melanoma cell line responded to DRE when combined with the metabolism interfering antitype II diabetic drug metformin. Therefore, treatment with this common, yet potent extract of natural compounds has proven novel in specifically inducing apoptosis in chemoresistant melanoma, without toxicity to healthy cells.