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Xanthohumol, a Prenylated Chalcone Derived from Hops, Suppresses Cancer Cell Invasion through Inhibiting the Expression of CXCR4 Chemokine Receptor

[ Vol. 12 , Issue. 2 ]


Y. Wang, Y. Chen, J. Wang, J. Chen, B.B. Aggarwal, X. Pang and M. Liu   Pages 153 - 162 ( 10 )


Cancer metastasis is the main cause of death (90%), and only recently we have gained some insight into the mechanisms by which metastatic cells arise from primary tumors and target to specific organs. Cysteine X Cysteine (CXC) chemokine receptor 4 (CXCR4), initially linked with leukocyte trafficking, is overexpressed in various tumors and mediates homing of tumor cells to distant sites expressing its cognate ligand CXCL12. Therefore, identification of CXCR4 inhibitors has great potential to abrogate tumor metastasis. In this study, we demonstrated that xanthohumol (XN), a prenylflavonoid derived from the female flowers of the hops plant (Humulus lupulus. L), suppressed CXCR4 expression in various cancer cell types in a concentration- and time-dependent manner. Both proteasome and lysosomal inhibitors had no effect to prevent the XN-induced downregulation of CXCR4, suggesting that the inhibitory effect of XN was not due to proteolytic degradation but occurred at the transcriptional level. Electrophoretic mobility shift assay and chromatin immunoprecipitation assay further confirmed that XN could block endogenous activation of nuclear factor kappa B, a key transcription factor regulates the expression of CXCR4 in cancer cells. Consistent with the above molecular basis, XN abolished cell invasion induced by CXCL12 in both breast and colon cancer cells. Interestingly, although co-exist in hops, XN is the only isoform that exhibited the inhibitory effect on the expression of CXCR4 compared with other isomers, isoxanthohumol and 8-prenylnaringenin. Together, our results suggested that XN, as a novel inhibitor of CXCR4, could be a promising therapeutic agent contributed to cancer treatment.


CXCL12, CXCR4, invasion, metastasis, xanthohumol, tumor, matrix metalloproteases, malignant disease, chemokines, leukocyte trafficking, antagonists, hop compounds, prenylflavonoid, anti-proliferative activity, carcinogens


Institute of Biomedical Sciences and School of Life Sciences, East China Normal University, 500 Dongchuan Road, Shanghai 200241, China.

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