Grape proanthocyanidin inhibit pancreatic cancer cell growth in vitro and in vivo through induction of apoptosis and by targeting the PI3K/Akt pathway

PLoS One. 2012;7(8):e43064. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0043064. Epub 2012 Aug 8.


Pancreatic cancer is an aggressive malignancy that is frequently diagnosed at an advanced stage with poor prognosis. Here, we report the chemotherapeutic effects of bioactive proanthocyanidins from grape seeds (GSPs) as assessed using In Vitro and In Vivo models. Treatment of human pancreatic cancer cells (Miapaca-2, PANC-1 and AsPC-1) with GSPs In Vitro reduced cell viability and increased G2/M phase arrest of the cell cycle leading to induction of apoptosis in a dose- and time-dependent manner. The GSPs-induced apoptosis of pancreatic cancer cells was associated with a decrease in the levels of Bcl-2 and Bcl-xl and an increase in the levels of Bax and activated caspase-3. Treatment of Miapaca-2 and PANC-1 cells with GSPs also decreased the levels of phosphatidylinositol-3-kinase (PI3K) and phosphorylation of Akt at ser(473). siRNA knockdown of PI3K from pancreatic cancer cells also reduced the phosphorylation of Akt. Further, dietary administration of GSPs (0.5%, w/w) as a supplemented AIN76A control diet significantly inhibited the growth of Miapaca-2 pancreatic tumor xenografts grown subcutaneously in athymic nude mice, which was associated with: (i) inhibition of cell proliferation, (ii) induction of apoptosis of tumor cells, (iii) increased expression of Bax, reduced expression of anti-apoptotic proteins and activation of caspase-3-positive cells, and (iv) decreased expression of PI3K and p-Akt in tumor xenograft tissues. Together, these results suggest that GSPs may have a potential chemotherapeutic effect on pancreatic cancer cell growth.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Apoptosis*
  • Caspase 3 / metabolism
  • Cell Cycle
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Female
  • Humans
  • In Vitro Techniques
  • Mice
  • Mice, Nude
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Phosphatidylinositol 3-Kinases / metabolism*
  • Phosphorylation
  • Plant Extracts / pharmacology*
  • Proanthocyanidins / pharmacology*
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-akt / metabolism*
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-bcl-2 / metabolism
  • Seeds / metabolism*
  • Time Factors
  • Vitis
  • bcl-2-Associated X Protein / metabolism
  • bcl-X Protein / metabolism


  • Plant Extracts
  • Proanthocyanidins
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-bcl-2
  • bcl-2-Associated X Protein
  • bcl-X Protein
  • proanthocyanidin
  • Phosphatidylinositol 3-Kinases
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-akt
  • Caspase 3

Grant support

This work was supported by funds from the Veterans Administration Merit Review Award (SKK). The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.