Auraptene and its Effects on the Re-emergence of Colon Cancer Stem Cells


Correspondence to: Francesco Epifano, Dipartimento di Scienze del Farmaco, Università ‘G. D'Annunzio’ Chieti-Pescara, Via dei Vestini 31, 66100 Chieti, Italy.



Recent studies indicate that auraptene (7-geranyloxycoumarin, AUR), a geranyloxycoumarin extracted from fruits of edible plants belonging to the Rutaceae family, may represent a novel lead compound for dietary colon cancer chemoprevention in rodents. As a continuation of studies aimed to better depict the pharmacological effects and mechanism of action of the title natural compound, the current investigation was undertaken to determine whether AUR would be able to prevent the growth and sphere (surrogate tumors) formation of FOLFOX-resistant colon cancer cells that are highly enriched in cancer stem cells (CSCs). Our results demonstrate that AUR at a concentration of 10 μM was able to inhibit the growth and formation of colonospheres of FOLFOX-resistant colon cancer HT-29 cells in vitro. The corresponding parental cells were also similarly affected by AUR at the same concentration level. The reduction in the growth and colonospheres formation in FOLFOX-resistant HT-29 was also associated with a concomitant decrease in phospho-epidermal growth factor receptor. These findings suggest that AUR could prevent the re-emergence of CSCs. Copyright © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.