Silibinin inhibits prostate cancer invasion, motility and migration by suppressing vimentin and MMP-2 expression

Acta Pharmacol Sin. 2009 Aug;30(8):1162-8. doi: 10.1038/aps.2009.94. Epub 2009 Jul 6.


Aim: Silibinin is known to exert growth inhibition and cell death together with cell cycle arrest and apoptosis in human prostate cancer cells. Whether silibinin could inhibit the invasion, motility and migration of prostate cancer cells remains largely unknown. This study was designed to evaluate this efficacy and possible mechanisms using a novel highly bone metastatic ARCaP(M) cell model.

Methods: Four prostate cancer cell lines, LNCaP, PC-3, DU145, and ARCaP(M), were used in this study. These cells were treated with increasing concentrations of silibinin (50, 100, and 200 micromol/L) for different periods of time. After treatment, cell viabilities of four prostate cancer cells were compared by MTT assay. Alterations of ARCaP(M) cell invasion, motility and migration were assessed by cell invasion, motility and wound healing assays. The changes of vimentin expression were observed by Western blotting and immunofluorescence staining, and the expression of MMP-2, MMP-9, and uPA was analyzed by reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR).

Results: ARCaP(M) cells showed less sensitivity to the growth inhibition of pharmacological doses of silibinin than LNCaP, PC-3, and DU145 cells. However, silibinin exerted significant dose- and time-dependent inhibitory effects on the invasion, motility and migration of ARCaP(M) cells. Furthermore, the expression of vimentin and MMP-2, but not MMP-9 or uPA, was down-regulated in a dose- and time-dependent manner after treatment of silibinin.

Conclusion: This study shows that silibinin could inhibit the invasion, motility and migration of ARCaP(M) cells via down-regulation of vimentin and MMP-2 and therefore may be a promising agent against prostate cancer bone metastasis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Antioxidants / therapeutic use*
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Cell Movement / drug effects*
  • Cell Proliferation / drug effects
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Neoplastic
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Matrix Metalloproteinase 2 / genetics*
  • Matrix Metalloproteinase 2 / metabolism
  • Neoplasm Invasiveness / prevention & control*
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Silybin
  • Silymarin / therapeutic use
  • Vimentin / genetics*
  • Vimentin / metabolism


  • Antioxidants
  • Silymarin
  • Vimentin
  • Silybin
  • Matrix Metalloproteinase 2