The anti-tumor effects of apigenin, a molecule that has been shown to inhibit the growth of a variety of human cancers, have been evaluated for the first time in malignant mesothelioma cells and in a mouse model of the disease.
The findings from the study show that apigenin prevents mesothelioma cell growth by targeting different chemical pathways and by inducing cellular death. This may have important implications for the design of future mesothelioma therapies using the molecule.
The study, “In Vitro and In Vivo Anti-tumoral Effects of the Flavonoid Apigenin in Malignant Mesothelioma,” was published in the journal Frontiers in Pharmacology.
Researchers from the University of Rome found that apigenin reduced tumor growth in mesothelioma mouse models and increased their median survival time.
In both human and mouse mesothelioma cells, apigenin inhibited survival, increased cellular stress, induced damage to the genetic material, and activated cellular death.
Apigenin works as a histone deacetylases (HDAC) inhibitor. HDACs, which protect genetic material, are emerging as remarkable molecular targets for anti-cancer drugs and therapies.
HDAC inhibitors cause a decline in the expression of proteins, including anti-cellular death proteins, which ultimately induce cell death.
Several clinical trials using HDAC inhibitors, alone or in combination with chemotherapy, have been approved for the treatment of human mesothelioma.
However, apigenin, besides mimicking the effects of HDAC inhibitors, also has an inhibitory effect in epidermal growth factor receptors, which does not allow for the activation of genes that favor cellular proliferation and migration.
Apigenin can be found in a variety of fruits and vegetables, including oranges, grapefruit, onions, parsley, basil, celery, tea leaf, licorice root, wheat sprouts, and more.