Saccharina japonica extract suppresses stemness of glioma stem cells by degrading epidermal growth factor receptor/epidermal growth factor receptor variant III.
Cancer stem cells, a small subpopulation of cells with stem cell-like characteristics found within most solid tumors, are widely reported to be responsible for the malignancy of aggressive cancer cells, and targeting these cells presents a sound therapeutic strategy for reducing the risk of tumor relapse. In the present study, we examined the effects of an extract of Saccharina japonica (ESJ) on glioblastoma stem cells (GSCs). Saccharina japonica is a member of the Phaeophyceae (brown algae) family, which displays biological activities, including antitumor effects. ESJ inhibited the sphere-forming ability of GSCs in vitro as evidenced by neurosphere formation and limiting dilution assays. Treatment with ESJ partially induced apoptosis, reduced cell invasiveness, and sensitized GSCs to ionizing radiation. In addition, ESJ inhibited the maintenance of stemness in GSCs by suppressing the expression of epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR)/EGFR variant III (EGFRvIII) and Notch intracellular domain. Intriguingly, the observed ESJ-induced suppression also appeared to induce the proteasomal degradation of EGFR/EGFRvIII. Our results indicate that ESJ could be considered a potent therapeutic adjuvant that targets GSCs.