Arnicolide D, from the herb Centipeda minima, Is a Therapeutic Candidate against Nasopharyngeal Carcinoma

Rui Liu, Brandon Dow Chan, Daniel Kam Wah Mok (Corresponding Author), Chi Sing Lee, William Chi Shing Tai (Corresponding Author), Sibao Chen (Corresponding Author)

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

19 Citations (Scopus)


Nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC) is a high morbidity and mortality cancer with an obvious racial and geographic bias, particularly endemic to Southeast China. Our previous studies demonstrated that Centipeda minima extract (CME) exhibited anti-cancer effects in human NPC cell lines. Arnicolide C and arnicolide D are sesquiterpene lactones isolated from Centipeda minima. In this study, for the first time, we investigated their anti-NPC effects and further explored the related molecular mechanisms. The effects of both arnicolide C and arnicolide D were tested in NPC cells CNE-1, CNE-2, SUNE-1, HONE1, and C666-1. The results showed that the two compounds inhibited NPC cell viability in a concentration- and time-dependent manner. As the inhibitory effect of arnicolide D was the more pronounced of the two, our following studies focused on this compound. Arnicolide D could induce cell cycle arrest at G2/M, and induce cell apoptosis. The molecular mechanism of cell cycle regulation and apoptosis induction was investigated, and the results showed that arnicolide D could downregulate cyclin D3, cdc2, p-PI3K, p-AKT, p-mTOR, and p-STAT3, and upregulate cleaved PARP, cleaved caspase 9, and Bax. Regulation of cyclin B1, cdk6, and Bcl-2 expression by arnicolide D showed dynamic changes according to dose and time. Taken together, arnicolide D modulated the cell cycle, activated the caspase signaling pathway, and inhibited the PI3K/AKT/mTOR and STAT3 signaling pathways. These findings provide a solid base of evidence for arnicolide D as a lead compound for further development, and act as proof for the viability of drug development from traditional Chinese medicines.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1908
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 17 May 2019


  • Anti-proliferation
  • Apoptosis induction
  • Arnicolide D
  • Cell cycle arrest
  • NPC

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Analytical Chemistry
  • Chemistry (miscellaneous)
  • Molecular Medicine
  • Pharmaceutical Science
  • Drug Discovery
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Organic Chemistry


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