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Journal of Cancer Prevention

Original Article

Cancer prevention research 2009; 14(4): 309-314

Published online December 30, 2009

© Korean Society of Cancer Prevention

Urushiol Induces Growth Inhibition and Apoptosis in MCF-7 Human Breast Cancer Cells

Seaho Kim1, So-Hyun Jeong1, Mohammad Akbar Hossain1, Min Young Kim1, Dong Hwan Kim1, Jin-Ah Kim1, Jeong-Hyun Yoon1, Chun Soo Na2 and Nam Deuk Kim1


In this study, we investigated the effects of urushiol which was isolated from the sap of Korean lacquer tree (Rhus vernicifera Stokes), on the proliferation of MCF-7 human breast cancer cells. Forty-eight hour treatment of urushiol inhibited the growth of breast cancer cells and induced cell DNA fragmentation. This urushiol-induced apoptosis in the MCF-7 cells was closely linked with the down-regulation of Bcl-2 protein expression and the cleavage of poly (ADP-ribose) polymerase. Urushiol also caused a marked increase in the level of p21WAF1/CIP1protein in a p53-dependent manner. Based on our data, urushiol can be considered as a good candidate for an effective chemotherapeutic agent inducing apoptosis of cancer cells, although further study will be needed to confirm this. (Cancer Prev Res 14, 309-314, 2009)

Keywords: Urushiol, Human breast cancer cells, Apoptosis

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