Coix lacryma-jobi var. ma-yuen Stapf sprout extract has anti-metastatic activity in colon cancer cells in vitro.
Background: Coix lacryma-jobi var. ma-yuen (Rom.Caill.) Stapf has been used in China as an herbal medicine. Many studies of this plant have reported anti-proliferative and apoptotic activities on human cancer cell lines. Therefore, this study of the anti-metastatic effect of Coix lacryma-jobi var. ma-yuen Stapf sprout extract (CLSE) in colorectal cancer cells may provide a scientific basis for exploring anti-cancer effects of edible crops. Methods: To evaluate the effect of CLSE on cell proliferation and signaling, we performed a Cell Counting Kit-8 (CCK-8) assay in HCT116 cells and used western blot analysis. Furthermore, scratch-wound healing, transwell migration, matrigel invasion, and adhesion assays were conducted to elucidate the anti-metastatic effects of CLSE under hypoxic conditions in colon cancer cells. Results: First, CLSE decreased deferoxamine (DFO)-induced migration of colon cancer cells by 87%, and blocked colon cancer cell migration by 80% compared with hypoxia control cells. Second, CLSE treatment resulted in a 54% reduction in hypoxia-induced invasiveness of colon cancer cells, and 50% inhibition of adhesive potency through inactivation of the extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK) 1/2 and protein kinase b (AKT) pathways. Third, conditioned medium collected from CLSE-treated HCT116 cells suppressed tube formation of human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVECs) by 91%. Conclusions: CLSE inhibited migration, invasion, and adhesion of colon cancer cells and tube formation by HUVECs via repression of the ERK1/2 and AKT pathways under hypoxic conditions. Therefore, CLSE may be used to treat patients with colon cancer.