Ovarian cancer is one of the most significant malignancies in the western world. Studies showed that Ovarian cancers tend to grow resistance to cisplatin treatment. Therefore, new approaches are needed in ovarian cancer treatment. Kaempferol is a dietary flavonoid that is widely distributed in fruits and vegetables, and epidemiology studies have revealed a protective effect of kaempferol against ovarian cancer risk. Our early studies also found that kaempferol is effective in reducing vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) expression in ovarian cancer cells. In this study, we investigated kaempferol's effects on sensitizing ovarian cancer cell growth in response to cisplatin treatment.
Ten chemicals were screened for sensitizing OVCAR-3 ovarian cancer cell growth in response to cisplatin treatment. For kaempferol, which shows a significant synergistic interaction with cisplatin, expression of ABCC1, ABCC5, ABCC6, NFkB1, cMyc, and CDKN1A genes was further examined. For cisplatin/kaempferol treatments on OVCAR-3 cancer cells, the mRNA levels of ABCC1, ABCC5, and NFkB1 did not change. However, significant inhibition of ABCC6 and cMyc mRNA levels was observed for the cisplatin/kaempferol combined treatment. The CDKN1A mRNA levels were significantly up-regulated by cisplatin/kaempferol treatment. A plot of CDKN1A mRNA levels against that of cMyc gene further revealed a reverse, linear relationship, proving cMyc's regulation on CDKN1A gene expressions. Our work found that kaempferol works synergistically with cisplatin in inhibiting ovarian cancer cell viability, and their inhibition on cell viabilities was induced through inhibiting ABCC6 and cMyc gene transcription. Apoptosis assay showed the addition of 20 μM kaempferol to the cisplatin treatment induces the apoptosis of the cancer cells.
Kaempferol enhances the effect of cisplatin through down regulation of cMyc in promoting apoptosis of ovarian cancer cells. As a dietary component, kaempferol sensitizes ovarian cancer cells to cisplatin treatment and deserves further studies for possible applications in chemotherapy of ovarian cancers.