Cryptotanshinone, a Stat3 inhibitor, suppresses colorectal cancer proliferation and growth in vitro

Mol Cell Biochem. 2015 Aug;406(1-2):63-73. doi: 10.1007/s11010-015-2424-0. Epub 2015 Apr 26.


Cryptotanshinone (CPT) is a natural compound extracted from herbal medicine that has been previously shown to possess antitumor properties in various types of human cancer cells. In the present study, we examined the potential role of CPT in the treatment of colorectal cancer. Using SW480, HCT116, and LOVO colorectal cancer cell lines, the effects of CPT on cell viability, apoptosis, and tumorigenicity were evaluated. The results showed that CPT significantly inhibited the growth and viability of SW480, HCT116, and LOVO cell lines by inducing apoptosis and prevented anchorage dependent growth on agar. In addition, CPT inhibited the activation of Signal transducer and activator of transcription 3 (Stat3) pathways in colorectal cancer cells. Stat3 is a transcription factor that mediates the expression of various genes associated with many cellular processes, such as inflammation and cell growth, and has been shown to promote several cancer types, including colorectal cancer. These findings indicate that CPT may be a potential candidate for the treatment and prevention of colorectal cancer in part by inhibiting the activation of Stat3.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Intramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Antineoplastic Agents, Phytogenic / pharmacology*
  • Apoptosis
  • Cell Proliferation / drug effects*
  • Cell Survival / drug effects
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Cyclin D1 / metabolism
  • Cyclin-Dependent Kinase Inhibitor p21 / genetics
  • Cyclin-Dependent Kinase Inhibitor p21 / metabolism
  • Cyclin-Dependent Kinase Inhibitor p27 / genetics
  • Cyclin-Dependent Kinase Inhibitor p27 / metabolism
  • Drug Screening Assays, Antitumor
  • HCT116 Cells
  • Humans
  • Inhibitor of Apoptosis Proteins / metabolism
  • Phenanthrenes / pharmacology*
  • STAT3 Transcription Factor / antagonists & inhibitors
  • STAT3 Transcription Factor / metabolism*
  • Survivin


  • Antineoplastic Agents, Phytogenic
  • BIRC5 protein, human
  • CCND1 protein, human
  • CDKN1A protein, human
  • Cyclin-Dependent Kinase Inhibitor p21
  • Inhibitor of Apoptosis Proteins
  • Phenanthrenes
  • STAT3 Transcription Factor
  • STAT3 protein, human
  • Survivin
  • Cyclin D1
  • Cyclin-Dependent Kinase Inhibitor p27
  • cryptotanshinone