Baicalein regulates Rho-ROCK-MLC pathway to inhibit the growth and metastasis of breast cancer

CAI Fei-fei1 WANG Xiu-feng1 ZHOU Qian-mei1 LU Yi-yu1 SU Shi-bing1

(1.Research Center for Traditional Chinese Medicine Complexity System, Institute of Interdisciplinary Integrative Medicine Research, Shanghai University of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Shanghai 201203)
【Novelty】In recent years, baicalein has received increasing attention for its ability to inhibit the proliferation of tumor cells or induce apoptosis and autophagic cell death in low toxicity cancer cells, especially for its ability to inhibit metastasis in breast cancer . Abnormal activation of RhoA and ROCK in breast cancer tissues causes enhanced phosphorylation of downstream MLC, leading to migration and invasion of cancer cells. The aim of this study was to observe the inhibitory effect of baicalein on the growth and metastasis of human breast cancer xenograft tumor in nude mice, and explore the mechanism of baicalein participating in ROCK mediated cytoskeleton recombination and inhibiting the migration of human breast cancer MDA-MB-231 cells.

【Abstract】In this study, the inhibitory effect and mechanism of baicalein on tumor growth and lung metastasis of human breast cancer MDA-MB-231cells in nude mice was investigated. Twenty female BALB/C nude mice were randomized into normal group, model group, paclitaxel group, and baicalein group, with five mice in each group. The nude mice model of human breast cancer xenograft was established. Baicalein group was injected with 50 mg/kg baicalein, paclitaxel group 10 mg/kg paclitaxel, and normal group and model group normal saline for 8 weeks. Experimental results indicated that the tumor weight and the number lung metastatic nodules and metastases in paclitaxel group and baicalein group were smaller than those in the model group. Baicalein alone or in combination with ROCK inhibitor Y-27632 can inhibit the migration and cytoskeleton protein expression of MDA-MB-231 cells, reduce the formation of protein bundles, and inhibit the protein levels of ROCK1, Rac1, RhoA, and p-MLC.

【Keywords】 baicalein; breast cancer; cell migration;


【Funds】 Key Project of National Natural Science Foundation of China (81330084)

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This Article



Vol 33, No. 04, Pages 570-576

April 2021


Article Outline



  • 1 Materials
  • 2 Methods
  • 3 Results
  • 4 Discussion
  • References