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Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Volume 2013, Article ID 434709, 13 pages
Research Article

5,7-Dihydroxyflavone Enhances the Apoptosis-Inducing Potential of TRAIL in Human Tumor Cells via Regulation of Apoptosis-Related Proteins

1Laboratory of Cellular and Molecular Biology, Jiangsu Province Institute of Traditional Chinese Medicine, 100 Shizi Street, Hongshang Road, Nanjing, Jiangsu 210028, China
2Department of Biology, School of Chemistry and Life Sciences, Lishui University, Lishui, Zhejinag 323000, China

Received 1 July 2012; Accepted 8 December 2012

Academic Editor: Andrea Pieroni

Copyright © 2013 Zhenzhen Zhang 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.


Tumor necrosis factor-related apoptosis-inducing ligand (TRAIL) is a promising candidate for the treatment of cancer, because it preferentially induces apoptosis in numerous cancer cells with little or no effect on normal cells. 5,7-Dihydroxyflavone is a dietary flavonoid commonly found in many plants. Here we show that the combined treatment with 5,7-dihydroxyflavone and TRAIL at subtoxic concentrations induced strong apoptotic response in human hepatocarcinoma HepG2 cells, acute leukemia Jurkat T cells, and cervical carcinoma HeLa cells. We further investigated the mechanisms by which 5,7-dihydroxyflavone augments TRAIL-induced apoptosis in HepG2 cells. 5,7-Dihydroxyflavone up-regulated the expression of pro-apoptotic protein Bax, attenuated the expression of anti-apoptotic proteins Bcl-2, Mcl-1, and IAPs, and reduced the phosphorylation levels of Akt and STAT3, weakening the anti-apoptotic signals thus facilitating the process of apoptosis. Moreover, 5,7-dihydroxyflavone and TRAIL were well tolerated in mice, and the combination of 5,7-dihydroxyflavone and TRAIL reduced tumor burden in vivo in a HepG2 tumor xenograft model. Interestingly, 5,7-dihydroxyflavone-mediated sensitization to TRAIL-induced cell death was not observed in normal human hepatocytes L-O2. These results suggest that the 5,7-dihydroxyflavone in combination with TRAIL might be used for cancer prevention and/or therapy.