Oxidative Stress Triggered by Apigenin Induces Apoptosis in a Comprehensive Panel of Human Cervical Cancer-Derived Cell Lines

Oxid Med Cell Longev. 2017;2017:1512745. doi: 10.1155/2017/1512745. Epub 2017 Jan 16.


Recently, the cytotoxic effects of apigenin (4',5,7-trihydroxyflavone), particularly its marked inhibition of cancer cell viability both in vitro and in vivo, have attracted the attention of the anticancer drug discovery field. Despite this, there are few studies of apigenin in cervical cancer, and these studies have mostly been conducted using HeLa cells. To evaluate the possibility of apigenin as a new therapeutic candidate for cervical cancer, we evaluated its cytotoxic effects in a comprehensive panel of human cervical cancer-derived cell lines including HeLa (human papillomavirus/HPV 18-positive), SiHa (HPV 16-positive), CaSki (HPV 16 and HPV 18-positive), and C33A (HPV-negative) cells in comparison to a nontumorigenic spontaneously immortalized human epithelial cell line (HaCaT). Our results demonstrated that apigenin had a selective cytotoxic effect and could induce apoptosis in all cervical cancer cell lines which were positively marked with Annexin V, but not in HaCaT (control cells). Additionally, apigenin was able to induce mitochondrial redox impairment, once it increased ROS levels and H2O2, decreased the Δψm, and increased LPO. Still, apigenin was able to inhibit migration and invasion of cancer cells. Thus, apigenin appears to be a promising new candidate as an anticancer drug for cervical cancer induced by different HPV genotypes.

MeSH terms

  • Antineoplastic Agents / pharmacology*
  • Apigenin / pharmacology*
  • Apoptosis / drug effects*
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Oxidative Stress / drug effects*
  • Uterine Cervical Neoplasms*


  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Apigenin