Differential contribution of ROS to resveratrol-induced cell death and loss of self-renewal capacity of ovarian cancer stem cells

Anticancer Res. 2015 Jan;35(1):85-96.


Background/aim: Cancer stem cells (CSCs) are considered to contribute to the poor prognosis of ovarian cancer as a major cause of fatal recurrence. Identification of effective measures to eliminate ovarian CSCs through induction of cell death and/or loss of self-renewal capacity would, therefore, be key to successful management of ovarian cancer.

Materials and methods: The effects of resveratrol on the viability and self-renewal capacity of CSCs derived from A2780 human ovarian cancer cells were examined. The involvement of reactive oxygen species (ROS) was also investigated.

Results: At a non-toxic to normal human fibroblasts concentration, resveratrol effectively killed ovarian CSCs independently of ROS, while ROS-dependently impaired the self-renewal capacity of ovarian CSCs that survived resveratrol treatment.

Conclusion: Our findings not only shed light on a novel mechanism of action for resveratrol but also suggest that resveratrol, or its analogs, may be useful for CSC-directed therapy against ovarian cancer.

Keywords: Cancer initiating cells; chemoprevention; ovarian cancer; oxidative stress.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Antineoplastic Agents, Phytogenic / pharmacology*
  • Apoptosis
  • Cell Proliferation / drug effects
  • Cell Survival / drug effects
  • Drug Screening Assays, Antitumor
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Neoplastic Stem Cells / drug effects
  • Neoplastic Stem Cells / physiology*
  • Ovarian Neoplasms
  • Oxidative Stress
  • Reactive Oxygen Species / metabolism*
  • Resveratrol
  • Stilbenes / pharmacology*


  • Antineoplastic Agents, Phytogenic
  • Reactive Oxygen Species
  • Stilbenes
  • Resveratrol