Sesamin suppresses NSCLC cell proliferation and induces apoptosis via Akt/p53 pathway

Toxicol Appl Pharmacol. 2020 Jan 15:387:114848. doi: 10.1016/j.taap.2019.114848. Epub 2019 Dec 3.


Non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) is the most common type of lung cancer with a disappointing prognosis. The aim of this study was to investigate the anticancer effect of sesamin and the underlying mechanism. The MTT assay was used to detect the proliferation of NSCLC cells. The cell cycle and apoptosis were analyzed by flow cytometry. The protein levels of Akt, p-Akt (Ser473), p53, cyclin D1, CDK2, MDM2, p-MDM2 (Ser166) were detected by western blotting. The expression of p-Akt (Ser473), p53 and Ki67 in vivo was analyzed by IHC. Histopathologic analyses of major organs (heart, liver, spleen, lung and kidney) were performed by H&E staining. The results show that sesamin suppressed cell proliferation and induced apoptosis of NSCLC cells (A549 and H1792) in a dose-dependent manner. Treatment with sesamin caused cell cycle arrest at G1 phase and inhibited cyclin D1 and CDK2 expression. In addition, sesamin inhibited Akt activity and upregulated p53 expression both in vivo and in vitro. When Akt and p53 were suppressed by LY294002 and PFTα, respectively, sesamin exerted no additional effects. The in vivo results mostly matched the in vitro findings. Specifically, sesamin exerted little damage to major organs. Taken together, this study demonstrates that sesamin suppresses NSCLC cell proliferation by induction of G1 phase cell cycle arrest and apoptosis via Akt/p53 pathway. Therefore, sesamin may be a promising adjuvant treatment for NSCLC therapy.

Keywords: Apoptosis; Cell cycle arrest; Cyclin D1; NSCLC; Sesamin; p53.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Apoptosis / drug effects*
  • Benzothiazoles / pharmacology
  • Carcinoma, Non-Small-Cell Lung / drug therapy*
  • Carcinoma, Non-Small-Cell Lung / pathology
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Cell Proliferation / drug effects
  • Chromones / pharmacology
  • Dioxoles / pharmacology*
  • Dioxoles / therapeutic use
  • Female
  • G1 Phase Cell Cycle Checkpoints / drug effects
  • Humans
  • Lignans / pharmacology*
  • Lignans / therapeutic use
  • Lung Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Lung Neoplasms / pathology
  • Mice
  • Morpholines / pharmacology
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-akt / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-akt / metabolism
  • Signal Transduction / drug effects*
  • Toluene / analogs & derivatives
  • Toluene / pharmacology
  • Tumor Suppressor Protein p53 / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Tumor Suppressor Protein p53 / metabolism
  • Xenograft Model Antitumor Assays


  • Benzothiazoles
  • Chromones
  • Dioxoles
  • Lignans
  • Morpholines
  • TP53 protein, human
  • Tumor Suppressor Protein p53
  • 2-(4-morpholinyl)-8-phenyl-4H-1-benzopyran-4-one
  • Toluene
  • pifithrin
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-akt
  • sesamin