Sarsaparilla (Smilax Glabra Rhizome) extract inhibits migration and invasion of cancer cells by suppressing TGF-β1 pathway.
Sarsaparilla, also known as Smilax Glabra Rhizome (SGR), was shown to modulate immunity, protect against liver injury, lower blood glucose and suppress cancer. However, its effects on cancer cell adhesion, migration and invasion were unclear. In the present study, we found that the supernatant of water-soluble extract from SGR (SW) could promote adhesion, inhibit migration and invasion of HepG2, MDA-MB-231 and T24 cells in vitro, as well as suppress metastasis of MDA-MB-231 cells in vivo. Results of F-actin and vinculin dual staining showed the enhanced focal adhesion in SW-treated cells. Microarray analysis indicated a repression of TGF-β1 signaling by SW treatment, which was verified by real-time RT-PCR of TGF-β1-related genes and immunoblotting of TGFBR1 protein. SW was also shown to antagonize TGF-β1-promoted cell migration. Collectively, our study revealed a new antitumor function of Sarsaparilla in counteracting invasiveness of a subset of cancer cells by inhibiting TGF-β1 signaling.