Sulforaphane induces cell cycle arrest and apoptosis in murine osteosarcoma cells in vitro and inhibits tumor growth in vivo

Oncol Rep. 2007 Nov;18(5):1263-8.


Sulforaphane (SFN), a naturally occurring isothiocyanate, is an attractive agent due to its potent anticancer effects. SFN suppresses the proliferation of various cancer cells in vitro and in vivo. In this study, we report that SFN inhibited the proliferation of cultured murine osteosarcoma LM8 cells. Twenty micromolar SFN completely inhibited the growth of LM8 cells and caused G2/M-phase arrest. SFN induced the expression of p21(WAF1/CIP1) protein causing the cell cycle arrest in a dose-dependent manner. SFN induced apoptosis which was characterized by the appearance of cells with sub-G1 DNA content and the cleavage and activation of caspase-3. We showed that SFN induced the growth arrest and up-regulated the expression of p21(WAF1/CIP1) protein in a p53-independent manner in human osteosarcoma MG63 cells. We found that intraperitoneal administration of SFN (1 or 2 mg, 5 times/week) significantly inhibited the growth of LM8 xenografts to <30% of the controls in a preclinical animal model without causing any toxicity. In osteosarcoma cells, our findings provide in vivo evidence for the efficacy of SFN against the advanced growth of tumor. We showed that SFN induces cell cycle arrest and apoptosis in osteosarcoma cells and inhibits tumor xenograft growth. Furthermore, SFN is a potent inducer of p21(WAF1/CIP1) in osteosarcoma cells. These results raise the possibility that SFN may be a promising candidate for molecular-targeting chemotherapy against osteosarcoma.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anticarcinogenic Agents / pharmacology*
  • Apoptosis / drug effects*
  • Bone Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Cell Division / drug effects*
  • Cyclin-Dependent Kinase Inhibitor p21 / metabolism
  • G2 Phase / drug effects*
  • Humans
  • Isothiocyanates
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred BALB C
  • Osteosarcoma / pathology*
  • Sulfoxides
  • Thiocyanates / pharmacology*


  • Anticarcinogenic Agents
  • Cyclin-Dependent Kinase Inhibitor p21
  • Isothiocyanates
  • Sulfoxides
  • Thiocyanates
  • sulforaphane