Mulberry anthocyanins improves thyroid cancer progression mainly by inducing apoptosis and autophagy cell death

Kaohsiung J Med Sci. 2018 May;34(5):255-262. doi: 10.1016/j.kjms.2017.11.004. Epub 2017 Dec 6.


Dietary anthocyanin compounds have multiple biological effects, including antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and anti-atherosclerotic characteristics. The present study evaluated the anti-tumor capacity of mulberry anthocyanins (MA) in thyroid cancer cells. Our data showed that MA suppressed SW1736 and HTh-7 cell proliferation in a time- and dose-dependent manner. Meanwhile, flow cytometry results indicated that MA significantly increased SW1736 and HTh-7 cell apoptosis. We additionally observed that SW1736 and HTh-7 cell autophagy was markedly enhanced after MA treatment. Importantly, anthocyanin-induced cell death was largely abolished by 3-methyladenine (3-MA) or chloroquine diphosphate salt (CQ) treatment, suggesting that MA-induced SW1736 and HTh-7 cell death was partially dependent on autophagy. In addition, activation of protein kinase B (Akt), mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR), and ribosomal protein S6 (S6) were significantly suppressed by anthocyanin exposure. In summary, MA may serve as an adjunctive therapy for thyroid cancer patients through induction of apoptosis and autophagy-dependent cell death.

Keywords: Apoptosis; Autophagic death; Mulberry anthocyanins; Thyroid cancer.

MeSH terms

  • Adenine / analogs & derivatives
  • Adenine / pharmacology
  • Anthocyanins / isolation & purification
  • Anthocyanins / pharmacology*
  • Antineoplastic Agents, Phytogenic / isolation & purification
  • Antineoplastic Agents, Phytogenic / pharmacology*
  • Apoptosis / drug effects*
  • Apoptosis / genetics
  • Autophagy / drug effects*
  • Autophagy / genetics
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Cell Proliferation / drug effects
  • Chloroquine / analogs & derivatives
  • Chloroquine / pharmacology
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Neoplastic*
  • Humans
  • Morus / chemistry*
  • Plant Extracts / chemistry
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-akt / genetics
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-akt / metabolism
  • Ribosomal Protein S6 / genetics
  • Ribosomal Protein S6 / metabolism
  • Signal Transduction
  • TOR Serine-Threonine Kinases / genetics
  • TOR Serine-Threonine Kinases / metabolism
  • Thyroid Gland / drug effects
  • Thyroid Gland / metabolism
  • Thyroid Gland / pathology


  • Anthocyanins
  • Antineoplastic Agents, Phytogenic
  • Plant Extracts
  • Ribosomal Protein S6
  • 3-methyladenine
  • chloroquine diphosphate
  • Chloroquine
  • MTOR protein, human
  • TOR Serine-Threonine Kinases
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-akt
  • Adenine