Pterostilbene Suppresses Ovarian Cancer Growth via Induction of Apoptosis and Blockade of Cell Cycle Progression Involving Inhibition of the STAT3 Pathway

Int J Mol Sci. 2018 Jul 7;19(7):1983. doi: 10.3390/ijms19071983.


A growing body of evidence has demonstrated the promising anti-tumor effects of resveratrol in ovarian cancer cells, including its inhibitory effects on STAT3 activation. Nonetheless, the low bioavailability of resveratrol has reduced its attractiveness as a potential anti-cancer treatment. In contrast, pterostilbene, a stilbenoid and resveratrol analog, has demonstrated superior bioavailability, while possessing significant antitumor activity in multiple solid tumors. In this study, the therapeutic potential of pterostilbene was evaluated in ovarian cancer cells. Pterostilbene reduces cell viability in several different ovarian cancer cell lines by suppressing cell cycle progression and inducing apoptosis. Further molecular study has shown that pterostilbene effectively suppressed phosphorylation of STAT3, as well as STAT3 downstream genes that regulate cell cycle and apoptosis, indicating that inhibition of STAT3 pathway may be involved in its anti-tumor activity. The addition of pterostilbene to the commonly used chemotherapy cisplatin demonstrated synergistic antiproliferative activity in several ovarian cancer cell lines. Pterostilbene additionally inhibited cell migration in multiple ovarian cancer cell lines. The above results suggest that pterostilbene facilitates significant anti-tumor activity in ovarian cancer via anti-proliferative and pro-apoptotic mechanisms, possibly via downregulation of JAK/STAT3 pathway. Pterostilbene thus presents as an attractive non-toxic alternative for potential adjuvant or maintenance chemotherapy in ovarian cancer.

Keywords: cisplatin; combination; ovarian cancer; pterostilbene; synergy.

MeSH terms

  • Antineoplastic Agents / pharmacology*
  • Cell Cycle / drug effects
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Cell Proliferation / drug effects
  • Cell Survival / drug effects
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Ovarian Neoplasms / drug therapy
  • Ovarian Neoplasms / metabolism*
  • STAT3 Transcription Factor / metabolism*
  • Signal Transduction / drug effects
  • Stilbenes / pharmacology*


  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • STAT3 Transcription Factor
  • STAT3 protein, human
  • Stilbenes
  • pterostilbene