XIAP inhibitor embelin induces autophagic and apoptotic cell death in human oral squamous cell carcinoma cells.

Research paper by You-Jin YJ Lee, Bong-Soo BS Park, Hae-Ryoun HR Park, Su-Bin SB Yu, Hae-Mi HM Kang, In-Ryoung IR Kim

Indexed on: 20 Jul '17Published on: 20 Jul '17Published in: Environmental Toxicology


Embelin is an active ingredient of traditional herbal remedies for cancer and other diseases. Recently, it has been suggested that autophagy may play an important role in cancer therapy. However, little data are available regarding the role of autophagy in oral cancers. Therefore, we conducted this study to examine whether Embelin modulates autophagy in Ca9-22. Our results showed that Embelin had anticancer activity against the Ca9-22 human tongue squamous cell, and we observed that autophagic vacuoles were formed by MDC and AO. We also analyzed Embelin-treated Ca9-22 cells for the presence of biochemical markers and found that it directly affected the conversion of LC3-II, the degradation of p62/SQSTM1, full-length cleavage formation of ATG5-ATG12 complex and Beline-1, and caspase activation. Rescue experiments using an autophagy inhibitor showed Embelin-induced cell death in Ca9-22, confirming that autophagy acts as a pro-death signal. Furthermore, Embelin exhibited anticancer activity against Ca9-22 via both autophagy and apoptosis. These findings suggest that Embelin may potentially contribute to oral cancer treatment and provide useful information for the development of a new therapeutic agent.