6-Gingerol inhibits osteosarcoma cell proliferation through apoptosis and AMPK activation

Tumour Biol. 2015 Feb;36(2):1135-41. doi: 10.1007/s13277-014-2723-1. Epub 2014 Oct 21.


6-Gingerol, a major component of ginger, is demonstrated to possess a variety of pharmacological activities. Despite demonstration of its anti-cancer activity, the exact mechanism underlying the effects of 6-gingerol against sarcoma remains sketchy. In the present study, we investigated the anti-cancer effects of 6-gingerol on osteosarcoma cells. MTT assay was performed to determine cell viability. Phosphorylation and protein levels were determined by immunoblotting. Cell cycle was determined using flow cytometry. Quantitative polymerase chain reaction was employed to determine the changes in the messenger RNA (mRNA) expression of genes. Treatment with 6-gingerol resulted in a significant decrease in the viability of osteosarcoma cells in a dose-dependent fashion. In parallel, the number of cells arrested at the sub-G1 cell cycle phase was significantly increased. The results showed that 6-gingerol induced activation of caspase cascades and regulated cellular levels of Bcl2 and Bax. Moreover, 6-gingerol activated AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) signaling associated with the apoptotic pathways. Our findings suggest that 6-gingerol suppresses the growth of osteosarcoma cells. The anti-cancer activity is attributed to the activation of apoptotic signaling and the inhibition of anti-apoptotic signaling incorporating with 6-gingerol-induced AMPK activation. The study identifies a new molecular mechanism by which AMPK is involved in anti-cancer effects of 6-gingerol.

MeSH terms

  • AMP-Activated Protein Kinases / biosynthesis*
  • Apoptosis / drug effects
  • Bone Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Bone Neoplasms / genetics
  • Bone Neoplasms / pathology
  • Caspases / biosynthesis
  • Catechols / administration & dosage*
  • Cell Cycle Checkpoints / drug effects
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Cell Proliferation / drug effects
  • Fatty Alcohols / administration & dosage*
  • G1 Phase / drug effects
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Neoplastic / drug effects
  • Humans
  • Osteosarcoma / drug therapy*
  • Osteosarcoma / genetics
  • Osteosarcoma / pathology
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-bcl-2 / biosynthesis


  • Catechols
  • Fatty Alcohols
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-bcl-2
  • gingerol
  • AMP-Activated Protein Kinases
  • Caspases