Berberine Inhibits Human Melanoma A375.S2 Cell Migration and Invasion via Affecting the FAK, uPA, and NF-κB Signaling Pathways and Inhibits PLX4032 Resistant A375.S2 Cell Migration In Vitro

Molecules. 2018 Aug 13;23(8):2019. doi: 10.3390/molecules23082019.


Many studies have demonstrated that berberine inhibited the cell migration and invasion in human cancer cell lines. However, the exact molecular mechanism of berberine inhibiting the cell migration and invasion of human melanoma A375.S2 and A375.S2/PLX (PLX4032 induced resistant A375.S2) skin cancer cells remains unknown. In this study, we investigated the anti-metastasis mechanisms of berberine in human melanoma cancer A375.S2 cells and A375.S2/PLX resistant cells in vitro. Berberine at low concentrations (0, 1, 1.5 and 2 μM) induced cell morphological changes and reduced the viable cell number and inhibited the mobility, migration, and invasion of A375.S2 cells that were assayed by wound healing and transwell filter. The gelatin zymography assay showed that berberine slightly inhibited MMP-9 activity in A375.S2 cells. Results from western blotting indicated that berberine inhibited the expression of MMP-1, MMP-13, E-cadherin, N-cadherin, RhoA, ROCK1, SOS-1, GRB2, Ras, p-ERK1/2, p-c-Jun, p-FAK, p-AKT, NF-κB, and uPA after 24 h of treatment, but increased the PKC and PI3K in A375.S2 cells. PLX4032 is an inhibitor of the BRAFV600E mutation and used for the treatment of cancer cells harboring activated BRAF mutations. Berberine decrease cell number and inhibited the cell mobility in the resistant A375.S2 (A375.S2/PLX, PLX4032 generated resistant A375.S2 cells). Based on these observations, we suggest that the potential of berberine as an anti-metastatic agent in melanoma that deserves to be investigated in more detail, including in vivo studies in future.

Keywords: PLX4032; berberine; human melanoma A375.S2; invasion; migration.

MeSH terms

  • Berberine / pharmacology*
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Cell Movement / drug effects
  • Cell Proliferation
  • Cell Survival / drug effects
  • Drug Resistance, Neoplasm / drug effects*
  • Focal Adhesion Kinase 1 / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Matrix Metalloproteinases / metabolism
  • Melanoma / metabolism
  • Melanoma / pathology
  • NF-kappa B / metabolism*
  • Neoplasm Metastasis
  • Signal Transduction / drug effects*


  • NF-kappa B
  • Berberine
  • Focal Adhesion Kinase 1
  • PTK2 protein, human
  • Matrix Metalloproteinases