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Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Volume 2013, Article ID 124747, 19 pages
Research Article

Baicalein Triggers Mitochondria-Mediated Apoptosis and Enhances the Antileukemic Effect of Vincristine in Childhood Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia CCRF-CEM Cells

1Department of Child Care, College of Humanities and Social Sciences, Southern Taiwan University of Science and Technology, Tainan 71005, Taiwan
2Department of Dermatology, Kaohsiung Veterans General Hospital, Kaohsiung, Taiwan
3Department of Dermatology, Faculty of Medicine, College of Medicine, Kaohsiung Medical University, Kaohsiung, Taiwan
4Graduate Institute of Medicine, College of Medicine, Kaohsiung Medical University, Kaohsiung, Taiwan
5Institute of Biomedical Sciences, College of Life Science, National Chung Hsing University, Taichung, Taiwan
6Department of Medical Research and Education, Taichung Veterans General Hospital, Taichung, Taiwan
7Department of Forestry, National Chung Hsing University, Taichung, Taiwan
8Department of Food Science, National Pingtung University of Science and Technology, Pingtung, Taiwan

Received 15 August 2012; Revised 29 October 2012; Accepted 5 November 2012

Academic Editor: Youn Chul Kim

Copyright © 2013 Yun-Ju Chen 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.


Acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) accounts for approximately 75% of childhood leukemia, and chemotherapy remains the mainstay therapy. Baicalein is an active flavonoid used in traditional Chinese medicine and has recently been found to have anticancer, anti-inflammatory, and antiallergic properties. This study aims to investigate the molecular apoptotic mechanisms of baicalein in CCRF-CEM leukemic cells and to evaluate the combined therapeutic efficacy of baicalein with several commonly used chemotherapeutic drugs in CCRF-CEM cells. Our results demonstrate that baicalein induces mitochondria-dependent cleavage of caspases-9 and -3 and PARP with concomitant decreases in IAP family proteins, survivin, and XIAP. Furthermore, our results present for the first time that baicalein triggers a convergence of the intrinsic and extrinsic apoptotic pathways via the death receptor-caspase 8-tBid signaling cascade in CCRF-CEM cells. In addition, we also present for the first time that the combination of baicalein and vincristine results in a synergistic therapeutic efficacy. Overall, this combination strategy is recommended for future clinical trials in the treatment of pediatric leukemia owing to baicalein’s beneficial effects in alleviating the vomiting, nausea, and skin rashes caused by chemotherapy.