Ganoderic acid DM (GADM) is a triterpenoid isolated from Ganoderma lucidum, a well-known edible medicinal mushroom. In the present study, we found that GADM effectively inhibited cell proliferation and colony formation in MCF-7 human breast cancer cells, which was much stronger than that of MDA-MB-231 breast cancer cells. GADM both concentration- and time-dependently mediated G1 cell cycle arrest and significantly decreased the protein level of CDK2, CDK6, cycle D1, p-Rb and c-Myc in MCF-7 cells. Moreover, GADM obviously induced DNA fragmentation and cleavage of PARP which are the characteristics of apoptosis and decreased the mitochondrial membrane potential in MCF-7 cells. Besides, we also showed that GADM elicited DNA damage as measured by comet assay which is a sensitive method for DNA damage detection. γ-H2AX, a marker of DNA damage, was also slightly up-regulated after treated with GADM for 6h, suggesting that the G1 cell cycle arrest and apoptosis induced by GADM may be partially resulted from GADM-induced DNA damage. These results have advanced our current understandings of the anti-cancer mechanisms of GADM.
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