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Metformin Sensitizes Non-small Cell Lung Cancer Cells to an Epigallocatechin-3-Gallate (EGCG) Treatment

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In this study, metformin inhibited HO-1 expression and augmented the anti-tumor effect of EGCG. Metformin also enhanced ROS (reactive oxygen species) generation induced by EGCG (100 μM), subsequently resulting in apoptosis. Based on the results of the in vivo study, size of xenografts treated with the combination of metformin and EGCG was smaller than other groups. Mechanistically, metformin modulated the EGCG-activated Nrf2/HO-1 pathway through Sirtuin 1 (SIRT1)-dependent deacetylation of Nrf2. Moreover, metformin upregulated SIRT1 expression partially through the NF-kB pathway. Comparatively, the combination of EGCG and metformin showed little impact on normal lung epithelial BEAS-2B cells. Based on our findings, metformin sensitized NSCLC cells to the EGCG treatment by suppressing the Nrf2/HO-1 signaling pathway.