Overexpression/amplification of human epidermal growth factor receptor (HER)2/neu (erbB-2) oncogene plays a causal role in carcinogenesis and correlates with a poor clinical prognosis. However, little is known about HER2 in gastric cancer. In this study, we explored the pharmacological activities of natural triterpenoid corosolic acid (CRA) in HER2 signaling and its role in gastric cancer development and progression. In this study, CRA dramatically inhibited HER2 expression in a dose- and time-dependent manner, effectively inhibited cell proliferation, and induced G(o)/G(1) arrest through the induction of p27(kiP1) and cyclin D, down-regulation. CRA exposure enhanced apoptotic cell death, as confirmed by caspase-3 and poly (ADP-ribose) polymerase cleavage activities. CRA inhibited signaling pathways downstream of HER2, including phospho-proteins such as Akt and Erk. In addition, CRA combined with adriamycin and 5-fluorouracil enhanced this growth inhibition, but not with docetaxel and paclitaxel. These findings demonstrate that CRA suppresses HER2 expression.
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