Decrease of intracellular ROS by arbutin is associated with apoptosis induction and downregulation of IL-1β and TNF-α in LNCaP; prostate cancer

J Food Biochem. 2020 Sep;44(9):e13360. doi: 10.1111/jfbc.13360. Epub 2020 Jul 2.


Increased reactive oxygen species (ROS) along with inflammation are involved in the prostate cancer (PCa). Therefore, this study was conducted to investigate the molecular mechanisms that were affected by arbutin as an antioxidant on prostate cancer cell line; LNCap. The intracellular ROS measurement confirmed that arbutin significantly (p < .05) decreased the ROS levels in a dose-dependent manner. Detection of cell death profile established that 1,000 μM of arbutin could remarkably induced apoptosis (p < .05), while tert-butyl hydroperoxide (tBHP) as ROS inducer prompted necrosis. In addition, 1,000 µM of arbutin successfully decreased expressions of IL-1β and TNF-α genes (p < .05). Furthermore, evaluation of the IL-1β protein level showed that arbutin could significantly decrease this cytokine (p < .05). In summary, reduction of ROS along with increasing apoptosis and decreasing expression of pro-inflammatory genes following arbutin treatment can open new visions in the treatment of prostate cancer using complementary medicine. PRACTICAL APPLICATIONS: Nowadays, arbutin as a glycosylated hydroquinone is available commercially in both natural and synthetic forms. Arbutin is of interest because of its skin-lightening effect, and used in cosmetic products for cutaneous hyperpigmentation. Arbutin inhibited tyrosinase in melanocytes competitively. Moreover, arbutin was able to attenuate oxidative stress and, its anti-inflammatory activities has been established. In addition, arbutin has represented useful activities for suppression of malignant melanoma development. In addition, arbutin exhibits several pharmacological effects, including antimicrobial, antihyperlipidemic, antihyperglycemic, and alpha amylase inhibitory effects. In this study, we showed its effect on prostate cancer in vitro. Therefore, it opens new insights in the complementary medicine that can maintain or improve human health.

Keywords: IL-1β; ROS; TNF-α; antioxidant; arbutin; prostate cancer.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Apoptosis
  • Arbutin* / pharmacology
  • Cell Death
  • Down-Regulation
  • Humans
  • Interleukin-1beta
  • Male
  • Prostatic Neoplasms* / drug therapy
  • Prostatic Neoplasms* / genetics
  • Reactive Oxygen Species / metabolism
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha


  • Interleukin-1beta
  • Reactive Oxygen Species
  • TNF protein, human
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha
  • Arbutin