Ovatodiolide suppresses nasopharyngeal cancer by targeting stem cell-like population, inducing apoptosis, inhibiting EMT and dysregulating JAK/STAT signaling pathway

Shao Cheng Liu, Chih Ming Huang, Oluwaseun Adebayo Bamodu, Chun Shu Lin, Bing Lan Liu, Yew Min Tzeng, Jo Ting Tsai, Wei Hwa Lee, Tsung Ming Chen

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8 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Treatment for metastatic nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC) is challenging. Till now, a truly effective chemotherapy regimen for NPC has not yet been identified. These clinical observations prompted us to investigate a potential drug as alternative option for treating. Purpose: This study evaluated the inhibitory effects of Ovatodiolide (Ova), on tumorigenic and cancer stem cell characteristics of NPC cells. Methods: Two NPC cell lines (NPC-BM1 and NPC-BM2) were used to examine the anticancer effects of Ova and the molecular mechanism underlying these activities by using sulforhodamine B cytotoxicity assay, western blot, immunofluorescence, migration, colony and tumorsphere formation assays. Results: Ova significantly inhibited the viability of BM1 and BM2 cells, downregulated Bcl-xL and Puma, and upregulated Bax/Bad expression levels. Ova dose-dependent suppressed migratory/invasive potential of NPC cells, and reduced ability to form colonies. Ova-induced apoptosis correlated with increased Bax/Bcl-xL ratio while NPC motility and colony formation inhibition were associated with reduced expression of p-FAK, p-PXN, F-actin, and Slug proteins and increased E-cadherin. Furthermore, ova inhibited NPC tumorsphere formation, associated with decreased SOX2, OCT4 and JAK-STAT signaling pathway. Ova also attenuated NPC stem cell tumorigenicity, inhibited tumor growth, and enhanced the sensitivity of NPC cells to cisplatin treatment, in vivo. Conclusions: Our results demonstrated the anticancer efficacy of Ova in NPC and its potential as a putative inhibitor of JAK2 and STAT3, which are essential in tumorigenesis of NPC. Further development of Ova is encouraged.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)269-278
Number of pages10
Publication statusPublished - Mar 15 2019



  • Cancer stem cell
  • Chemoresistance
  • JAK-STAT pathway
  • Nasopharyngeal carcinoma
  • Ovatodiolide

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Medicine
  • Pharmacology
  • Pharmaceutical Science
  • Drug Discovery
  • Complementary and alternative medicine

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