Apigenin Down-Regulates the Hypoxia Response Genes: HIF-1α, GLUT-1, and VEGF in Human Pancreatic Cancer Cells

Published:November 29, 2010DOI:


      The flavonoid apigenin exhibits anti-proliferative and anti-angiogenic activities. Our objective was to evaluate the effect of apigenin on hypoxia responsive genes important in pancreatic cancer cell proliferation.

      Materials and Methods

      Immunohistochemistry for GLUT-1 expression was conducted on human pancreatic cancer samples and adjacent controls. Real-time RT-PCR, Western blot analysis, and enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) were conducted on CD18 and S2-013 human pancreatic cancer cells treated with apigenin (0–50 μM) in normoxic and hypoxic conditions to evaluate HIF-1α, GLUT-1, and VEGF mRNA and protein expression and secretion.


      GLUT-1 expression was significantly increased in pancreatic adenocarcinoma samples versus adjacent controls (P < 0.001). Hypoxic conditions induced HIF-1α, GLUT-1, and VEGF protein expression in both CD18 and S2-013 pancreatic cancer cells. Apigenin (50 μM) blocked hypoxia induced up-regulation of all three proteins in both cell lines. Apigenin also impeded hypoxia-mediated induction of GLUT-1 and VEGF mRNA in both cell lines (P < 0.05).


      Apigenin inhibits HIF-1α, GLUT-1, and VEGF mRNA and protein expression in pancreatic cancer cells in both normoxic and hypoxic conditions. This may account for the mechanism of apigenin’s anti-proliferative and anti-angiogenic effects and further supports the potential of apigenin as a future chemopreventive agent for pancreatic cancer.

      Key Words

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