The apoptotic effect of cordycepin on human OEC-M1 oral cancer cell line

Cancer Chemother Pharmacol. 2007 Jun;60(1):103-11. doi: 10.1007/s00280-006-0354-y. Epub 2006 Oct 10.


Cordycepin (3'-deoxyadenosine), a pure compound of Cordyceps sinensis, has been illustrated with anti-tumor effects. In the present study, the apoptotic effect of cordycepin on OEC-M1, a human oral squamous cancer cell line, was investigated by morphological observations, cell viability assay, annexin V-FITC analysis and flow cytometry methods. Results demonstrated that the number of rounded-up cell increased as treatment duration of cordycepin (100 microM) increased from 3 to 48 h, and the plasma membrane blebbing could be observed after 12 h treatment. In cell viability assay, cell surviving rate significantly decreased as the dosage and duration of cordycepin treatment increased (P < 0.05). Moreover, phosphatidylserine flipping on cell membrane could be detected with 3, 6 and 12 h cordycepin treatment, which indicated an early apoptotic phenomenon. Furthermore, cell cycle studies illustrated that the percentage of G1 phase cell declined as the dosages of cordycepin increased (10 microM to 5 mM), while the percentages of G2M and subG1 phase cell increased (P < 0.05) in 12, 24 and 48 h cordycepin treatment. These results further confirmed the apoptotic event. In conclusion, cordycepin significantly induced cell apoptotsis in OEC-M1 human oral squamous cancer cells.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Antineoplastic Agents / pharmacology*
  • Apoptosis / drug effects*
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Cell Membrane / drug effects
  • Cell Membrane / metabolism
  • Cell Shape / drug effects
  • Cell Survival / drug effects
  • Deoxyadenosines / pharmacology*
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Enzyme Inhibitors / pharmacology
  • Flow Cytometry / methods
  • G1 Phase / drug effects
  • G2 Phase / drug effects
  • Gingival Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Gingival Neoplasms / pathology
  • Humans
  • Phosphatidylserines / metabolism
  • Protein Transport / drug effects
  • Time Factors


  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Deoxyadenosines
  • Enzyme Inhibitors
  • Phosphatidylserines
  • cordycepin