Apigenin potentiates the growth inhibitory effects by IKK-β-mediated NF-κB activation in pancreatic cancer cells

Toxicol Lett. 2014 Jan 3;224(1):157-64. doi: 10.1016/j.toxlet.2013.10.007. Epub 2013 Oct 19.


Apigenin is a potential chemopreventive agent for cancer prevention. Because of the central role of transcription factor nuclear factor-κB (NF-κB) in pancreatic cancer, we investigated the roles of NF-κB in apigenin-induced growth inhibition in pancreatic cancer cells. It showed that apigenin reduced cell growth and induced apoptosis in the cells. Apigenin treatment down-regulated not only basal but also TNF-α-induced NF-κB DNA binding activity, NF-κB transcription activity, inhibitor of κB (IκB)-α phosphorylation together with translocation of p65 and p50, and it accompanied with the blockade of IκB kinase (IKK)-β activity. Moreover, IKK blockage potentiated the anticancer efficacy of apigenin and IKK-β overexpression attenuated the apigenin-induced cell growth inhibition. Additionally, apigenin (30 mg/kg) administration suppressed pancreatic cancer growth and IKK-β activation in nude mice xenograft. These results indicated that apigenin had a potential to inhibit IKK-β-mediated NF-κB activation, and was a valuable agent for the pancreatic cancer treatment.

Keywords: Apigenin; IKK-β; NF-κB; Pancreatic cancer.

MeSH terms

  • Active Transport, Cell Nucleus / drug effects
  • Animals
  • Apigenin / pharmacology*
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Cell Proliferation / drug effects*
  • DNA / metabolism
  • Female
  • Humans
  • I-kappa B Kinase / physiology*
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred BALB C
  • NF-kappa B / metabolism*
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms / pathology


  • NF-kappa B
  • Apigenin
  • DNA
  • I-kappa B Kinase