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Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Volume 2016 (2016), Article ID 2934340, 13 pages
Research Article

Spatholobus suberectus Column Extract Inhibits Estrogen Receptor Positive Breast Cancer via Suppressing ER MAPK PI3K/AKT Pathway

1Department of Oncology, Beijing Hospital of Traditional Chinese Medicine Affiliated to Capital Medical University, Beijing, China
2Beijing Institute of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Beijing Hospital of Traditional Chinese Medicine Affiliated to Capital Medical University, Beijing, China
3Department of Medical Biochemistry and Microbiology, Uppsala University, 75123 Uppsala, Sweden

Received 1 August 2016; Revised 12 October 2016; Accepted 9 November 2016

Academic Editor: Alaa Amash

Copyright © 2016 Jia-Qi Sun 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.


Although Chinese herbal compounds have long been alternatively applied for cancer treatment in China, their treatment effects have not been sufficiently investigated. The Chinese herb Spatholobus suberectus is commonly prescribed to cancer patients. HPLC analysis has shown that the main components of Spatholobus suberectus are flavonoids that can be classified as phytoestrogens, having a structure similar to estrogen. This study was designed to investigate the effects of Spatholobus suberectus column extract (SSCE) on the estrogen receptor-positive (ER+) breast cancer cell line MCF-7 and its possible molecular mechanism. In our study, MTT assay was performed to evaluate cell viability. The results show that SSCE (80, 160, and 320 μg/ml) significantly decreased the viability of MCF-7 cells. SSCE also triggered apoptosis, arrested the cell cycle at the G0/G1 phase, and inhibited cell migration. A dual-luciferase reporter system showed that SSCE suppressed intranuclear p-ER activity; Western blot analysis confirmed the repressed expression of phosphorylated-ER alpha (p-ERα), ERK1/2, p-ERK1/2, AKT, p-AKT, p-mTOR, PI3K, and p-PI3K, indicating that SSCE suppressed the MAPK PI3K/AKT signaling pathway. Collectively, our results suggest that SSCE causes apoptosis, an arrest in the G0/G1 phase, and a decrease in migration in ER+ MCF-7 cells via hypoactivity of the ER and suppression of the MAPK PI3K/AKT pathway.