Issue 7, 2011

Cellular and molecular mechanisms of pomegranate juice-induced anti-metastatic effect on prostate cancer cells


Prostate cancer is the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths among US males. Pomegranate juice (PJ), a natural product, was shown in a clinical trial to inhibit progression of this disease. However, the underlying mechanisms involved in the anti-progression effects of PJ on prostate cancer remain unclear. Here we show that, in addition to causing cell death of hormone-refractory prostate cancer cells, PJ also increases cell adhesion and decreases cell migration of the cells that do not die. We hypothesized that PJ does so by stimulating the expression and/or activation of molecules that alter the cytoskeleton and the adhesion machinery of prostate cancer cells, resulting in enhanced cell adhesion and reduced cell migration. We took an integrative approach to these studies by using Affimetrix gene arrays to study gene expression, microRNA arrays to study the non-coding RNAs, molecules known to be disregulated in cancer cells, and Luminex Multiplex array assays to study the level of secreted pro-inflammatory cytokines/chemokines. PJ up-regulates genes involved in cell adhesion such as E-cadherin, intercellular adhesion molecule 1 (ICAM-1) and down-regulates genes involved in cell migration such as hyaluranan-mediated motility receptor (HMMR) and type I collagen. In addition, anti-invasive microRNAs such as miR-335, miR-205, miR-200, and miR-126, were up-regulated, whereas pro-invasive microRNA such as miR-21 and miR-373, were down-regulated. Moreover, PJ significantly reduced the level of secreted pro-inflammatory cytokines/chemokines such as IL-6, IL-12p40, IL-1β and RANTES, thereby having the potential to decrease inflammation and its impact on cancer progression. PJ also inhibits the ability of the chemokine SDF1α to chemoattract these cancer cells. SDF1α and its receptor CXCR4 are important in metastasis of cancer cells to the bone. Discovery of the mechanisms by which this enhanced adhesion and reduced migration are accomplished can lead to sophisticated and effective prevention of metastasis in prostate and potentially other cancers.

Graphical abstract: Cellular and molecular mechanisms of pomegranate juice-induced anti-metastatic effect on prostate cancer cells

Article information

Article type
08 Oct 2010
07 Apr 2011
First published
19 May 2011

Integr. Biol., 2011,3, 742-754