Genetic Interpretation of the Impacts of Honokiol and EGCG on Apoptotic and Self-Renewal Pathways in HEp-2 Human Laryngeal CD44high Cancer Stem Cells

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Research Article

Publication Title

Nutrition and Cancer

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Most current larynx cancer therapies are generally aimed at the global mass of tumor, targeting the non-tumorigenic cells, and unfortunately sparing the tumorigenic cancer stem cells (CSCs) that are responsible for sustained growth, metastasis, and chemo- and radioresistance. Phytochemicals and herbs have recently been introduced as therapeutic sources for eliminating CSCs. Therefore, we assessed the anti-tumor effects of two herbal ingredients, the green tea extract “Epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG)” and Honokiol (HNK), on parental cells or CD44high CSCs of the human laryngeal squamous cell carcinoma cell line HEp-2. Results revealed that EGCG had a preeminent apoptotic potential on HEp-2 laryngeal CSCs. HNK conferred higher cytotoxic impacts on parental cells mostly by necrosis induction, especially with higher doses, but apoptosis induction with lower doses was also observed. The Notch signaling pathway genes were more potently suppressed by EGCG than HNK. However, HNK surpassed EGCG in downregulating the β-catenin and the Sonic Hedgehog signaling pathways genes. On a genetic basis, both agents engaged the BCL-2 family-regulated and caspase-dependent intrinsic apoptotic pathway, but EGCG and HNK triggered apoptosis via p53-independent and p53-dependent pathways, respectively. Taken together, EGCG and HNK eradicated HEp-2 human larynx cancer cells through targeting multiple self-renewal pathways and activating diverse cell death modalities.

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