Beneficial effects of a medicinal herb, Cirsium japonicum var. maackii, extract and its major component, cirsimaritin on breast cancer metastasis in MDA-MB-231 breast cancer cells

Bioorg Med Chem Lett. 2017 Sep 1;27(17):3968-3973. doi: 10.1016/j.bmcl.2017.07.070. Epub 2017 Jul 29.


The biological activities of the ethanol extract from Cirsium japonicum var. maackii (ICF-1) and its major component, polyphenol cirsimaritin, were investigated as part of the search for possible alternative drugs for breast cancer. Three in vitro cell-based assays were used: the cell proliferation assay, tube-formation assay, and Western blot analysis. Both the ICF-1 extract and cirsimaritin inhibited the viability of HUVECs in a dose-dependent manner. The inhibition achieved was 36.89% at a level of 200μg/ml by the ICF-1 extract and 62.04% at a level of 100μM by cirsimaritin. The ICF-1 extract and cirsimaritin reduced tube formation by 12.69% at level of 25μg/ml and 32.18% at the levels of 6.25μM, respectively. Cirsimaritin inhibited angiogenesis by downregulation of VEGF, p-Akt and p-ERK in MDA-MB-231 cells, suggesting that cirsimaritin is potentially useful as an anti-metastatic agent. The present study demonstrated that Cirsium japonicum extract and its active component cirsimaritin is an excellent candidate as an alternative anti-breast cancer drug.

Keywords: Breast cancer; Cirsimaritin; Cirsium japonicum var. maackii; Metastasis; Natural plant extract.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Antineoplastic Agents, Phytogenic / chemistry
  • Antineoplastic Agents, Phytogenic / isolation & purification
  • Antineoplastic Agents, Phytogenic / pharmacology*
  • Breast Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Breast Neoplasms / pathology
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Cell Proliferation / drug effects
  • Cirsium / chemistry*
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Drug Screening Assays, Antitumor
  • Female
  • Flavones / chemistry
  • Flavones / isolation & purification
  • Flavones / pharmacology*
  • Humans
  • Molecular Structure
  • Neovascularization, Pathologic / drug therapy*
  • Neovascularization, Pathologic / pathology
  • Plant Extracts / chemistry
  • Plant Extracts / isolation & purification
  • Plant Extracts / pharmacology*
  • Plants, Medicinal / chemistry*
  • Structure-Activity Relationship


  • Antineoplastic Agents, Phytogenic
  • Flavones
  • Plant Extracts
  • cirsimaritin