1,2,3,4,6-penta-O-galloyl-β-D-glucose, quercetin, curcumin and lycopene induce cell-cycle arrest in MDA-MB-231 and BT474 cells through downregulation of Skp2 protein

J Agric Food Chem. 2011 Jun 22;59(12):6765-75. doi: 10.1021/jf201096v. Epub 2011 May 31.


The F-box protein S-phase kinase-associated protein 2 (Skp2), which acts as an oncogene through targeting p27 for degradation, is overexpressed in many different human cancers. Skp2 can play an important role in breast cancer progression and may also be a novel molecular target for the treatment of breast cancer, especially estrogen receptor (ER)/human epidermal growth factor 2 (HER2) negative breast cancers. Unfortunately, specific drugs that target Skp2 are unavailable at present. Therefore, it is important to explore whether commonly used chemopreventive agents may downregulate Skp2 expression. In this study, we examined the effects of 1,2,3,4,6-penta-O-galloyl-β-D-glucose (pentagalloylglucose, 5gg), quercetin, curcumin and lycopene on the expression of Skp2 in MDA-MB-231 (ER/HER2-negative) and BT474 (ER-negative/HER2-positive) cells. We found that all four phytochemicals studied induced cell growth inhibition in MDA-MB-231 cells. The mechanism of the initial growth inhibitory events involves blocking the cell cycle progression. Further, we found that quercetin and curcumin induced growth arrest by inhibition of Skp2, and induced p27 expression in MDA-MB-231 cells. However, the decrease in Skp2 levels in cells treated with 5gg or lycopene did not translate to p27 upregulation. Consequently, the downregulation of Skp2 did not always correlate with the upregulation of p27, suggesting that phytochemical-dependent downregulation of Skp2 can influence cell growth in several ways. Several studies have demonstrated that Skp2 directs the ubiquitylation and subsequent degradation of forkhead box protein O1 (FoxO1). Furthermore, our results reveal that FoxO1 protein was increased after 5gg, quercetin, curcumin and lycopene treatment. The therapeutic strategies designed to reduce Skp2 may therefore play an important clinical role in treatment of breast cancer cells, especially ER/HER2-negative breast cancers.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Breast Neoplasms / drug therapy
  • Breast Neoplasms / genetics
  • Breast Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Breast Neoplasms / physiopathology*
  • Carotenoids / pharmacology*
  • Cell Cycle / drug effects*
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Curcumin / pharmacology*
  • Down-Regulation / drug effects*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hydrolyzable Tannins / pharmacology*
  • Lycopene
  • Quercetin / pharmacology*
  • S-Phase Kinase-Associated Proteins / genetics*
  • S-Phase Kinase-Associated Proteins / metabolism


  • Hydrolyzable Tannins
  • S-Phase Kinase-Associated Proteins
  • Carotenoids
  • pentagalloylglucose
  • Quercetin
  • Curcumin
  • Lycopene