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Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Volume 2013, Article ID 936257, 10 pages
Research Article

Saussurea lappa Clarke-Derived Costunolide Prevents TNFα-Induced Breast Cancer Cell Migration and Invasion by Inhibiting NF-κB Activity

Laboratory of Clinical Biology and Pharmacogenomics, Center for Clinical Research and Genomics, Department of Preventive Medicine, College of Korean Medicine, Kyung Hee University, 1 Hoegi-dong, Seoul 130-701, Republic of Korea

Received 5 April 2013; Accepted 3 May 2013

Academic Editor: Bo-Hyoung Jang

Copyright © 2013 Youn Kyung Choi 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.


Saussurea lappa Clarke (SLC) has been used as a traditional medicine in Korea, China, and Japan for the treatment of abdominal pain and tenesmus. Costunolide, a sesquiterpene lactone isolated from SLC, has diverse medicinal effects. However, the anticancer effects of costunolide are still unclear in breast cancer. In this study, we demonstrate that costunolide suppresses tumor growth and metastases of MDA-MB-231 highly metastatic human breast cancer cells via inhibiting TNF -induced NF- B activation. Costunolide inhibited MDA-MB-231 tumor growth and metastases without affecting body weights in the in vivo mouse orthotopic tumor growth assays. In addition, costunolide inhibited in vitro TNF -induced invasion and migration of MDA-MB-231 cells. Costunolide further suppressed TNF -induced NF- B signaling activation, resulting in a reduced expression of MMP-9, a well-known NF- B-dependent gene to mediate breast cancer cell growth and metastases. Therefore, we conclude that SLC and its derivative costunolide suppress breast cancer growth and metastases by inhibiting TNF -induced NF- B activation, suggesting that costunolide as well as SLC may be promising anticancer drugs, especially for metastatic breast cancer.