The anti-cancer activity of Antrodia camphorata against human ovarian carcinoma (SKOV-3) cells via modulation of HER-2/neu signaling pathway

J Ethnopharmacol. 2013 Jun 21;148(1):254-65. doi: 10.1016/j.jep.2013.04.023. Epub 2013 Apr 22.


Ethnopharmacological relevance: Antrodia camphorata (AC) is well known in Taiwan as a traditional Chinese medicinal fungus. However, the anticancer activity of AC against human HER-2/neu-overexpressing ovarian cancers is poorly understood.

Materials and methods: The aim of this study is to investigate whether a submerged fermentation culture of AC can inhibit human ovarian carcinoma cell (SKOV-3) proliferation by suppressing the HER-2/neu signaling pathway. Cell viability, colony formation, DCFH-DA fluorescence microscopy, western blotting, HER-2/neu immunofluorescence imaging, flow cytometry, and TUNEL assays were carried out to determine the anti-cancer effects of AC.

Results: MTT and colony formation assays showed that AC induced a dose-dependent reduction in SKOV-3 cell growth. Immunoblot analysis demonstrated that HER-2/neu activity and tyrosine phosphorylation were significantly inhibited by AC. Furthermore, AC treatment significantly inhibited the activation of PI3K/Akt and their downstream effector β-catenin. We also observed that AC caused G2/M arrest mediated by down-regulation of cyclin D1, cyclin A, cyclin B1, and Cdk1 and increased p27 expression. Notably, AC induced apoptosis, which was associated with DNA fragmentation, cytochrome c release, caspase-9/-3 activation, PARP degradation, and Bcl-2/Bax dysregulation. An increase in intracellular reactive oxygen species (ROS) was observed in AC-treated cells, whereas the antioxidant N-acetylcysteine (NAC) prevented AC-induced cell death, HER-2/neu depletion, PI3K/Akt inactivation, and Bcl-2/Bax dysregulation, indicating that AC-induced cell death was mediated by ROS generation.

Conclusions: These results suggest that AC may exert anti-tumor activity against human ovarian carcinoma by suppressing HER-2/neu signaling pathways.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Antineoplastic Agents / pharmacology*
  • Antrodia*
  • Apoptosis / drug effects
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Cell Proliferation / drug effects
  • Complex Mixtures / pharmacology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Ovarian Neoplasms
  • Reactive Oxygen Species / metabolism
  • Receptor, ErbB-2 / metabolism*
  • Signal Transduction / drug effects


  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Complex Mixtures
  • Reactive Oxygen Species
  • ERBB2 protein, human
  • Receptor, ErbB-2