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Cucurbitacin B exerts anti-cancer activities in human multiple myeloma cells in vitro and in vivo by modulating multiple cellular pathways

Cucurbitacin B (CuB), a triterpenoid compound isolated from the stems of Cucumis melo, has long been used to treat hepatitis and hepatoma in China. Although its remarkable anti-cancer activities have been reported, the mechanism by which it achieves this therapeutic activity remains unclear. This study was designed to investigate the molecular mechanisms by which CuB inhibits cancer cell proliferation. Our results indicate that CuB is a novel inhibitor of Aurora A in multiple myeloma (MM) cells, arresting cells in the G2/M phase. CuB also inhibited IL-10-induced STAT3 phosphorylation, synergistically increasing the anti-tumor activity of Adriamycin in vitro. CuB induced dephosphorylation of cofilin, resulting in the loss of mitochondrial membrane potential, release of cytochrome c, and activation of caspase-8. CuB inhibited MM tumor growth in a murine MM model, without host toxicity. In conclusion, these results indicate that CuB interferes with multiple cellular pathways in MM cells. CuB thus represents a promising therapeutic tool for the treatment of MM.

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