Considering the great potential of natural products as anticancer agents, the present study was designed to explore the molecular mechanisms responsible for anticancer activities of Mesua ferrea stem bark extract against human colorectal carcinoma. Based on MTT assay results, bioactive sub-fraction (SF-3) was selected for further studies using HCT 116 cells. Repeated column chromatography resulted in isolation of less active α-amyrin from SF-3, which was identified and characterized by GC-MS and HPLC methods. α-amyrin and betulinic acid contents of SF-3 were measured by HPLC methods. Fluorescent assays revealed characteristic apoptotic features, including cell shrinkage, nuclear condensation, and marked decrease in mitochondrial membrane potential in SF-3 treated cells. In addition, increased levels of caspases-9 and -3/7 levels were also observed in SF-3 treated cells. SF-3 showed promising antimetastatic properties in multiple in vitro assays. Multi-pathway analysis revealed significant down-regulation of WNT, HIF-1α, and EGFR with simultaneous up-regulation of p53, Myc/Max, and TGF-β signalling pathways in SF-3 treated cells. In addition, promising growth inhibitory effects were observed in SF-3 treated HCT 116 tumour spheroids, which give a hint about in vivo antitumor efficacy of SF-3 phytoconstituents. In conclusion, these results demonstrated that anticancer effects of SF-3 towards colon cancer are through modulation of multiple molecular pathways.
* Title and MeSH Headings from MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine.