Quercetin-induced growth inhibition and cell death in prostatic carcinoma cells (PC-3) are associated with increase in p21 and hypophosphorylated retinoblastoma proteins expression

J Cancer Res Clin Oncol. 2005 Nov;131(11):765-71. doi: 10.1007/s00432-005-0005-4. Epub 2005 Nov 1.


Prostate cancer is the major health problem and the leading cause of male cancer death. Quercetin is a novel antitumor and antioxidant, whose molecular mechanism involved in cell cycle arrest in androgen independent prostate cancer cells remains unclear. In this study, we investigated the effects of quercetin on proliferation and cell cycle arrest by modulation of Cdc2/Cdk-1 protein in prostate cancer cells (PC-3). PC- 3 cells are human androgen independent cancer cells and were cultured with quercetin at concentrations of 50 and 100 microM for 24 h. Cell proliferation, apoptosis and cell cycle distribution were analyzed. Expression of Cdc2/Cdk-1, cyclin B1, cyclin A, p21/Cip1, pRb, pRb2/p130, Bcl-2, Bcl-X(L), Bax and caspase-3 proteins were studied with western blot analysis. Addition of quercetin led to substantial decrease in the expression of Cdc2/Cdk-1, cyclin B1 and phosphorylated pRb and increase in p21. Flowcytometric analysis showed that quercetin blocks G2-M transition, with significant induction of apoptosis. Apoptosis markers like Bcl-2 and Bcl-X(L) were significantly decreased and Bax and caspase-3 were increased. From this study, it was concluded that quercetin inhibits prostate cancer cell proliferation by altering the expression of cell cycle regulators and apoptotic proteins.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Antineoplastic Agents / pharmacology*
  • Biomarkers, Tumor / metabolism
  • Blotting, Western
  • Cell Death / drug effects
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Cyclin-Dependent Kinase Inhibitor p21 / metabolism*
  • Flow Cytometry
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Neoplastic
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Phosphorylation
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Quercetin / pharmacology*
  • Retinoblastoma Protein / metabolism*


  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Biomarkers, Tumor
  • CDKN1A protein, human
  • Cyclin-Dependent Kinase Inhibitor p21
  • Retinoblastoma Protein
  • Quercetin