The botanical molecule p-hydroxycinnamic acid as a new osteogenic agent: insight into the treatment of cancer bone metastases

Mol Cell Biochem. 2016 Oct;421(1-2):193-203. doi: 10.1007/s11010-016-2803-1. Epub 2016 Aug 30.


Bone homeostasis is maintained through a balance between osteoblastic bone formation and osteoclastic bone resorption. Bone loss with aging is induced by decreasing in osteoblastic bone formation and increasing in osteoclastic bone resorption, thereby leading to osteoporosis. Osteoporosis with its accompanying decrease in bone mass is widely recognized as a major public heath problem. Pharmacologic and nutritional factors may play a role in the prevention and treatment of bone loss with aging. p-Hydroxycinnamic acid (HCA), which stimulates bone mineralization in mouse bone tissues in vitro, has been found to be present in the leafstalk of wasabi (Wasabi japonica MATSUM) among various food and plants. Other phenolic acids including cinnamic acid, ferulic acid, caffeic acid and 3,4-dimethoxycinnamic acid did not have osteogenic effects. HCA was demonstrated to stimulate osteoblastic bone formation and suppresses osteoclastic bone resorption in vitro by antagonizing activation of the nuclear factor kappa B. Oral administration of HCA was found to exhibit restorative effects on bone loss induced by ovariectomy and diabetic states, supporting a role in the treatment of osteoporosis. Moreover, HCA was demonstrated to prevent the suppressed osteoblastic mineralization and the enhanced osteoclastogenesis in mouse bone marrow cells cocultured with bone metastatic MDA-MB-231 human breast cancer cells in vitro. The botanical molecule HCA, as a new osteogenic agent, is suggested to play a role in the treatment of cancer bone metastases. This review will discuss an advanced recent finding that HCA may be a useful agent to treat bone metabolic disorder.

Keywords: Bone metastasis; Diabetes; Osteoblastic bone formation; Osteoclastic bone resorption; Osteoporosis; p-Hydroxycinnamic acid.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Bone Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Bone Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Bone Neoplasms / pathology
  • Bone Neoplasms / secondary
  • Breast Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Breast Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Breast Neoplasms / pathology
  • Coumaric Acids / chemistry
  • Coumaric Acids / therapeutic use*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Mice
  • Neoplasm Metastasis
  • Osteoblasts / metabolism*
  • Osteoblasts / pathology
  • Osteogenesis / drug effects*
  • Propionates
  • Wasabia / chemistry*


  • Coumaric Acids
  • Propionates
  • p-coumaric acid