Background: Obesity is a global phenomenon and is associated with various types of cancer, including colon cancer. There is a growing interest for safe and effective bioactive compounds that suppress the risk for obesity-promoted colon cancer. Resveratrol (trans-3, 4', 5,-trihydroxystilbene), a stilbenoid found in the skin of red grapes and peanuts suppresses many types of cancers by regulating cell proliferation and apoptosis through a variety of mechanisms, however, resveratrol effects on obesity-promoted colon cancer are not clearly established.
Methods: We investigated the anti-proliferative effects of resveratrol on HT-29 and SW480 human colon cancer cells in the presence and absence of insulin like growth factor-1 (IGF-1; elevated during obesity) and elucidated the mechanisms of action using IGF-1R siRNA in HT-29 cells which represents advanced colon carcinogenesis.
Results: Resveratrol (100-150 microM) exhibited anti-proliferative properties in HT-29 cells even after IGF-1 exposure by arresting G0/G1-S phase cell cycle progression through p27 stimulation and cyclin D1 suppression. Treatment with resveratrol suppressed IGF-1R protein levels and concurrently attenuated the downstream Akt/Wnt signaling pathways that play a critical role in cell proliferation. Targeted suppression of IGF-1R using IGF-1R siRNA also affected these signaling pathways in a similar manner. Resveratrol treatment induced apoptosis by activating tumor suppressor p53 protein, whereas IGF-1R siRNA treatment did not affect apoptosis. Our data suggests that resveratrol not only suppresses cell proliferation by inhibiting IGF-1R and its downstream signaling pathways similar to that of IGF-1R siRNA but also enhances apoptosis via activation of the p53 pathway.
Conclusions: For the first time, we report that resveratrol suppresses colon cancer cell proliferation and elevates apoptosis even in the presence of IGF-1 via suppression of IGF-1R/Akt/Wnt signaling pathways and activation of p53, suggesting its potential role as a chemotherapeutic agent.