Epigallocatechin-3-gallate inhibits cell cycle and induces apoptosis in pancreatic cancer

Front Biosci. 2007 Sep 1;12:5039-51. doi: 10.2741/2446.


Epidemiological data suggest that epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG) possesses chemopreventive properties against cancer. In this study, we examined the molecular mechanisms of EGCG in human pancreatic cancer cells. EGCG caused growth arrest at G1 stage of cell cycle through regulation of cyclin D1, cdk4, cdk6, p21/WAF1/CIP1 and p27/KIP1, and induced apoptosis through generation of reactive oxygen species and activation of caspase-3 and caspase-9. EGCG inhibited expressions of Bcl-2 and Bcl-XL and induced expressions of Bax, Bak, Bcl-XS and PUMA. Mouse embryonic fibroblasts (MEFs) derived from Bax and Bak double knockout mice exhibited greater protection against EGCG-induced apoptosis than wild-type or single knockout MEFs. EGCG caused Bax activation in p53 -/- MEFs, suggesting that EGCG can induce apoptosis in the absence of p53. Furthermore, the activities of Ras, Raf-1 and ERK1/2 were inhibited, whereas the activities of MEKK1, JNK1/2 and p38 MAP kinases were induced by EGCG. Inhibition of cRaf-1 or ERK enhanced EGCG-induced apoptosis, whereas inhibition of JNK or p38 MAP kinase inhibited EGCG-induced apoptosis. EGCG inhibited the activation of p90 ribosomal protein S6 kinase, and induced the activation of cJUN. Our results suggest that EGCG induces growth arrest and apoptosis through multiple mechanisms, and can be used for pancreatic cancer prevention.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anticarcinogenic Agents / pharmacology*
  • Apoptosis / drug effects*
  • Caspase 3 / metabolism
  • Catechin / analogs & derivatives*
  • Catechin / pharmacology
  • Cell Cycle / drug effects*
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Enzyme Activation / drug effects
  • Humans
  • MAP Kinase Signaling System / drug effects
  • Mice
  • Mice, Knockout
  • Mitochondria / drug effects
  • Mitochondria / metabolism
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms / enzymology
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms / metabolism*
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms / pathology
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-bcl-2 / genetics
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-bcl-2 / metabolism
  • Reactive Oxygen Species / metabolism
  • bcl-2 Homologous Antagonist-Killer Protein / genetics
  • bcl-2-Associated X Protein / genetics


  • Anticarcinogenic Agents
  • Bak1 protein, mouse
  • Bax protein, mouse
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-bcl-2
  • Reactive Oxygen Species
  • bcl-2 Homologous Antagonist-Killer Protein
  • bcl-2-Associated X Protein
  • Catechin
  • epigallocatechin gallate
  • Caspase 3