The Combination of Flavokawain B and Daunorubicin Induces Apoptosis in Human Myeloid Leukemic Cells by Modifying NF-κB

Anticancer Res. 2018 May;38(5):2771-2778. doi: 10.21873/anticanres.12520.


Background/aim: Flavokawain B (FKB), is a natural chalcone isolated from kava root that induces apoptosis in cancer cells. Herein we investigated the effects of combination of FKB and daunorubicin (DNR) on human leukemic cells.

Materials and methods: Cell viability and death were assessed by the MTS assay and flow cytometry. NK-κB was detected by western blotting.

Results: FKB alone and in combination with DNR reduced the viable cell numbers of four leukemic cell lines. FKB itself induced apoptosis of an acute myeloid cell line, HL-60. Because the additive effect of DNR and FKB was most obvious in HL-60 cells, subsequent experiments were performed with HL-60 cells. Combined treatment of the two compounds increased NF-κB activation at 12 h.

Conclusion: A combination treatment of DNR and FKB may improve the anticancer effects of DNR in DNR-resistant acute myeloid leukemia.

Keywords: Flavokawain B; acute myeloid leukemia; daunorubicin.

MeSH terms

  • Active Transport, Cell Nucleus / drug effects
  • Antineoplastic Combined Chemotherapy Protocols / pharmacology*
  • Apoptosis / drug effects*
  • Cell Division
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Daunorubicin / pharmacology*
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Drug Screening Assays, Antitumor
  • Drug Synergism
  • Flavonoids / pharmacology*
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Leukemic / drug effects*
  • HL-60 Cells
  • Humans
  • K562 Cells
  • NF-kappa B / metabolism*
  • Neoplasm Proteins / metabolism*
  • Stimulation, Chemical


  • Flavonoids
  • NF-kappa B
  • Neoplasm Proteins
  • flavokawain B
  • Daunorubicin