The antitumor effect of Lentinan is thought rely on the activation of immune responses; however, little is known about whether Lentinan also directly attacks cancer cells. We therefore investigated the direct antitumor activity of SLNT (a water-extracted polysaccharide from Lentinus edodes) and its probable mechanism. We showed that SLNT significantly inhibited proliferation of HT-29 colon cancer cells and suppressed tumor growth in nude mice. Annxein V-FITC/PI, DAPI, AO/EB and H&E staining assays all showed that SLNT induced cell apoptosis both in vitro and in vivo. SLNT induced apoptosis by activating Caspase-3 via both intrinsic and extrinsic pathways, which presented as the activation of Caspases-9 and -8, upregulation of cytochrome c and the Bax/Bcl-2 ratio, downregulation of NF-κB, and overproduction of ROS and TNF-α in vitro and in vivo. Pretreatment with the caspase-3 inhibitor Ac-DEVD-CHO or antioxidant NAC blocked SLNT-induced apoptosis. These findings suggest that SLNT exerts direct antitumor effects by inducing cell apoptosis via ROS-mediated intrinsic and TNF-α-mediated extrinsic pathways. SLNT may thus represent a useful candidate for colon cancer prevention and treatment.
Keywords: ROS; apoptosis; colon cancer; lentinan; nude mice.