Quercetin-induced autophagy flux enhances TRAIL-mediated tumor cell death

Oncol Rep. 2015 Jul;34(1):375-81. doi: 10.3892/or.2015.3991. Epub 2015 May 19.


Quercetin is a potent cancer therapeutic agent and dietary antioxidant present in fruit and vegetables. Quercetin prevents tumor proliferation by inducing cell cycle arrest and is a well known cancer therapeutic agent and autophagy mediator. We investigated whether quercetin enhances TRAIL-induced tumor cell death and the possible mechanism in human lung cancer cells. We identified that quercetin markedly enhanced TRAIL-mediated lung cancer cell death. Quercetin treatment dose-dependently decreased the p62 protein expression and increased GFP-LC3B. Autophagy flux inhibitor, chloroquine treatment blocked the enhancing effects of TRAIL-induced apoptosis by quercetin. Our results indicated that quercetin enhanced TRAIL-induced cell death via autophagy flux activation, and also suggest that quercetin may be a therapeutic agent against human lung cancer via combination therapy with many anticancer drugs including TRAIL.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Antineoplastic Agents / pharmacology*
  • Autophagy / drug effects
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Chloroquine / pharmacology
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Neoplastic / drug effects
  • Humans
  • Lung Neoplasms / metabolism*
  • Microtubule-Associated Proteins / metabolism
  • Quercetin / pharmacology*
  • RNA-Binding Proteins / metabolism
  • TNF-Related Apoptosis-Inducing Ligand / metabolism*


  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • MAP1LC3B protein, human
  • Microtubule-Associated Proteins
  • P62 protein, human
  • RNA-Binding Proteins
  • TNF-Related Apoptosis-Inducing Ligand
  • TNFSF10 protein, human
  • Chloroquine
  • Quercetin