Corosolic acid induces apoptotic cell death in human lung adenocarcinoma

Lung cancer is the most common cause of cancer mortality worldwide. Approximately 80–85% of all lung cancers are classified as non-small-ce ll lung cancer (NSCLC), an aggressive tumor type with a 5-year survival rate of only 16% that has improved little over the last 35 years (Jemal et al., 2010 ). Even in patients with early stage NSCLC, about half will relapse despite surgery, radiation, and adjuvant chemotherapy. Therefore, the search for better thera- peutic agents with enhanced activity against lung cancer continues . Over the past few decades, a large number of plant-deri ved bioac- tive compounds have been isolated that are now widely used to treat cancers, including paclitaxel, vinblastine, and camptothec in.

Corosolic acid (CRA), a triterpenoid named 2a-hydroxyurs olic acid, has been discovered in many traditional Chinese medicinal herbs, such as Lagerstroemia speciosa , Eriobotrta japonica , Tiarella polyphylla, etc. The triterpenoids have been used widely in Asian medicine and are reported to possess anti- tumoral properties. Recent data suggest that CRA may be of therapeutic value for its variety of biological activities, such as its anti-diabetic, anti-inflammatory ,and anti- addition, CRA displays cytotoxic activity against several human cancer cell lines but the underlying anti-cancer mechanisms of CRA remain unknown.

Apoptosis is a fundamenta l cellular event during development and is critical for the cytotoxicity induced by anti-cancer drugs. Over the past two decades, more and more bioactive compounds identified from traditional Chinese medicinal herbs have been shown to kill NSCLC cells by apoptosis including, for example, glossogin and emodin; however, to our knowledge, the apoptotic effect of CRA has not been evaluated in lung cancer cells. In this study, we used A549 cells to investigate the apoptotic effect and molecular mech- anisms of CRA.

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