Sasa quelpaertensis leaf extract inhibits colon cancer by regulating cancer cell stemness in vitro and in vivo

Soo Jin Min, Ji Ye Lim, Haeng Ran Kim, Se Jae Kim, Yuri Kim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

43 Scopus citations


A rare subpopulation of cancer cells, termed cancer stem cells (CSCs), may be responsible for tumor relapse and resistance to conventional chemotherapy. The development of a non-toxic, natural treatment for the elimination of CSCs is considered a strategy for cancer treatment with minimal side effects. In the present study, the potential for Sasa quelpaertensis leaf extract (SQE) and its two bioactive compounds, tricin and p-coumaric acid, to exert anti-CSC effects by suppressing cancer stemness characteristics were evaluated in colon cancer cells. CD133+ CD44+ cells were isolated from HT29 and HCT116 cell lines using flow-activated cell sorting (FACs). SQE treatment was found to significantly suppress the self-renewal capacity of both cell lines. SQE treatment was also associated with the down-regulation of β-catenin and phosphorylated GSK3β, while significantly enhancing cell differentiation by up-regulating CK20 expression and blocking the expression of several stem cell markers, including DLK1, Notch1, and Sox-2. In vivo, SQE supplementation suppressed tumor growth in a xenograft model by down-regulating stem cell markers and β-catenin as well as HIF-1α signaling. Compared with two bioactive compounds of SQE, SQE exhibited the most effective anti-CSC properties. Taken together, these results provide evidence that SQE inhibits colon cancer by regulating the characteristics of CSCs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)9976-9997
Number of pages22
JournalInternational Journal of Molecular Sciences
Issue number5
StatePublished - 30 Apr 2015

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2015 by the authors; licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.


  • Cancer stem cells
  • Colon cancer
  • Differentiation
  • Sasa quelpaertensis Nakai leaf extract
  • Self-renewal


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