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Journal of Oncology
Volume 2012 (2012), Article ID 601682, 8 pages
Research Article

Cucurbitacin B Causes Increased Radiation Sensitivity of Human Breast Cancer Cells via G2/M Cell Cycle Arrest

1Faculty of Medical Technology, Mahidol University, Bangkok, Thailand
2Free Radical and Radiation Biology Program, Department of Radiation Oncology, University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA 52242, USA
3Faculty of Science, Ramkhamhaeng University, Bangkok, Thailand

Received 23 January 2012; Accepted 27 March 2012

Academic Editor: Julian J. Raffoul

Copyright © 2012 Suwit Duangmano 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.


Purpose. To explore the effects of cucurbitacin B on the radiation survival of human breast cancer cells and to elucidate the cellular mechanism of radiosensitization if any. Materials and Methods. Human breast carcinoma cell lines were treated with cucurbitacin B before irradiation with 0–10 Gy of 1 3 7 C s gamma rays. The effect of cucurbitacin B on cell-survival following irradiation was evaluated by colony-forming assay. Cell cycle distributions were investigated using flow cytometry. Real-time PCR and western blots were performed to investigate the expression of cell cycle checkpoints. Results. Cucurbitacin B inhibited breast cancer cell proliferation in a dose-dependent manner. Only MDA-MB-231 and MCF7:5C cells but not SKBR-3 cells were radiosensitized by cucurbitacin B. Flow cytometric analysis for DNA content indicated that cucurbitacin B resulted in G2/M arrest in MDA-MB-231 and MCF7:5C but not SKBR-3 cells. Moreover, Real-time PCR and western blot analysis demonstrated upregulated p21 expression before irradiation, a likely cause of the cell cycle arrest. Conclusion. Taken together, these findings suggest that cucurbitacin B causes radiosensitization of some breast cancer cells, and that cucurbitacin B induced G2/M arrest is an important mechanism. Therefore, combinations of cucurbitacin B with radiotherapy may be appropriate for experimental breast cancer treatment.