Livistona chinensis seed suppresses hepatocellular carcinoma growth through promotion of mitochondrial-dependent apoptosis

Oncol Rep. 2013 May;29(5):1859-66. doi: 10.3892/or.2013.2319. Epub 2013 Mar 1.


The Livistona chinensis seed has been used for centuries to clinically treat various types of cancer. However, the precise mechanism of its anticancer activity remains to be elucidated. In the present study, we evaluated the efficacy of the ethanol extract of Livistona chinensis seed (EELC) against tumor growth using a hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) mouse xenograft model and an HCC cell line, HepG2, and investigated the molecular mechanisms mediating its biological activities. We found that EELC inhibited HCC growth both in vivo and in vitro, without apparent signs of toxicity. In addition, EELC treatment resulted in the induction of HCC cell apoptosis. Moreover, EELC-induced apoptosis was accompanied by the loss of mitochondrial membrane potential, activation of caspase-9 and caspase-3, and increase in the pro-apoptotic Bax/Bcl-2 ratio. Our findings suggest that promotion of mitochondrial-dependent apoptosis in cancer cells may be one of the mechanisms by which the Livistona chinensis seed is effective in cancer treatment.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Apoptosis / drug effects*
  • Arecaceae / chemistry*
  • Carcinoma, Hepatocellular / drug therapy*
  • Carcinoma, Hepatocellular / metabolism
  • Caspase 3 / metabolism
  • Caspase 9 / metabolism
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Cell Proliferation / drug effects
  • Hep G2 Cells
  • Humans
  • Liver Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Liver Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Male
  • Membrane Potential, Mitochondrial / drug effects
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred BALB C
  • Mice, Nude
  • Mitochondria / drug effects*
  • Mitochondria / metabolism
  • Plant Extracts / pharmacology*
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-bcl-2 / metabolism
  • Random Allocation
  • Seeds / chemistry
  • Xenograft Model Antitumor Assays
  • bcl-2-Associated X Protein / metabolism


  • Plant Extracts
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-bcl-2
  • bcl-2-Associated X Protein
  • Caspase 3
  • Caspase 9