Sulindac suppresses beta-catenin expression in human cancer cells

Eur J Pharmacol. 2008 Mar 31;583(1):26-31. doi: 10.1016/j.ejphar.2007.12.034. Epub 2008 Feb 5.


Sulindac has been reported to be effective in suppressing tumor growth through the induction of p21WAF1/cip1 in human, animal models of colon cancer and colon cancer cells. In this study, we treated human breast cancer cell line MCF-7 and lung cancer cell line A549 as well as colon cancer cell line SW620 with sulindac to observe the effects of sulindac in other tissue sites. In all cell lines, proliferation was significantly inhibited by sulindac after 24 and 72 h of treatment. Apoptosis was induced by sulindac in both lung cancer cells and colon cancer cells but was not induced in breast cancer cells. Western blots showed that p21 protein level were induced by sulindac in lung cancer cells and colon cancer cells, but not in breast cancer cells. However, the suppression of beta-catenin, a key mediator of Wnt signaling pathway, was seen in all three cell lines with sulindac administration. Further studies revealed that transcriptional activities of beta-catenin were significantly inhibited by sulindac and that the inhibition was sulindac dosage-dependent. The transcriptional targets of beta-catenin, c-myc, cyclin D1 and cdk 4 were also dramatically downregulated. In conclusion, our data demonstrated that the efficacy of sulindac in the inhibition of cell proliferation (rather than the induction of apoptosis) might be through the suppression of beta-catenin pathway in human cancer cells.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal / pharmacology*
  • Apoptosis / drug effects
  • Blotting, Western
  • Breast Neoplasms / metabolism*
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Cell Proliferation / drug effects
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / metabolism*
  • Cyclin D1 / biosynthesis
  • Cyclin D1 / genetics
  • Cyclin-Dependent Kinase 4 / biosynthesis
  • Cyclin-Dependent Kinase 4 / genetics
  • Cyclin-Dependent Kinase Inhibitor p21 / biosynthesis
  • Cyclin-Dependent Kinase Inhibitor p21 / genetics
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Neoplastic / drug effects
  • Genes, Reporter / drug effects
  • Humans
  • Luciferases / genetics
  • Lung Neoplasms / metabolism*
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-myc / biosynthesis
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-myc / genetics
  • Sulindac / pharmacology*
  • Transcription, Genetic / drug effects
  • Transfection
  • beta Catenin / antagonists & inhibitors*
  • beta Catenin / biosynthesis*


  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal
  • CDKN1A protein, human
  • Cyclin-Dependent Kinase Inhibitor p21
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-myc
  • beta Catenin
  • Cyclin D1
  • Sulindac
  • Luciferases
  • Cyclin-Dependent Kinase 4