Matrine inhibits the metastatic properties of human cervical cancer cells via downregulating the p38 signaling pathway

Oncol Rep. 2017 Aug;38(2):1312-1320. doi: 10.3892/or.2017.5787. Epub 2017 Jul 3.


Matrine is a traditional Chinese herbal medicine that shows antitumor efficacy for many types of cancer. The present study evaluated the antitumor efficacy of matrine on cervical cancer and to investigate the underlying mechanisms. We performed MTT assays, and in vitro invasion and migration assays, and P1 L6 found that matrine significantly inhibited cervical cancer cell growth by inducing apoptosis, and suppressed the invasion and migration ability of cervical cancer cells in vitro in a concentration-dependent manner. Mechanistically, we found that matrine decreased the expression and activity of the extracellular matrix factors, matrix metalloproteinases-2 (MMP-2) and MMP-9 via the suppression of p38 signaling pathway. In addition, when cervical cancer cells were grown as xenografts in nude mice, intraperitoneal (i.p.) injection of matrine induced a significant dose-dependent decrease in tumor growth. Taken together, these findings suggest that a potential mechanism by which matrine inhibits the growth and metastasis of cervical cancer through downregulating the p38 signaling pathway.

MeSH terms

  • Alkaloids / pharmacology*
  • Animals
  • Antineoplastic Agents, Phytogenic / pharmacology*
  • Apoptosis
  • Biomarkers, Tumor / metabolism*
  • Cell Cycle
  • Cell Movement
  • Cell Proliferation
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Matrix Metalloproteinase 2 / metabolism
  • Matrix Metalloproteinase 9 / metabolism
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred BALB C
  • Mice, Nude
  • Neoplasm Invasiveness
  • Neoplasm Metastasis
  • Quinolizines / pharmacology*
  • Tumor Cells, Cultured
  • Uterine Cervical Neoplasms / drug therapy
  • Uterine Cervical Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Uterine Cervical Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Xenograft Model Antitumor Assays
  • p38 Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinases / metabolism


  • Alkaloids
  • Antineoplastic Agents, Phytogenic
  • Biomarkers, Tumor
  • Quinolizines
  • p38 Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinases
  • MMP2 protein, human
  • Matrix Metalloproteinase 2
  • MMP9 protein, human
  • Matrix Metalloproteinase 9
  • matrine