Zerumbone, a Southeast Asian Ginger Sesquiterpene, Induced Apoptosis of Pancreatic Carcinoma Cells through p53 Signaling Pathway

Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2012;2012:936030. doi: 10.1155/2012/936030. Epub 2012 Jan 29.


Pancreatic carcinoma is one common cancer with gradually increasing incidence during the past several decades. However, currently the candidate drugs to suppress pancreatic cancer remain lacking. This research was carried out to investigate if zerumbone, a natural cyclic sesquiterpene isolated from Zingiber zerumbet Smith, will produce the anticancer effects on pancreatic carcinoma cell lines. The results showed that zerumbone concentration, and time, dependently produced inhibitory actions on cell viability of PANC-1 cells. In addition, Hoechst 33342, AO/EB, TUNEL staining, and caspase-3 activity assay further showed that zerumbone induced apoptosis of PANC-1 cells. The expression of p53 protein was markedly upregulated, and the p21 level was also obviously elevated in zerumbone-treated PANC-1 cells. Moreover, ROS production was increased by about 149% in PANC-1 cells treated by zerumbone 30 μM. Zerumbone also produced the same antitumor activity in pancreatic carcinoma cell lines SW1990 and AsPC-1. In summary, we found that zerumbone was able to induce apoptosis of pancreatic carcinoma cell lines, indicating to be a promising treatment for pancreatic cancer.