Latex of Ficus carica L. Induces Apoptosis Through Caspase and Bcl-2 Family in FaDu Human Hypopharynx Squamous Carcinoma Cells

  • Shin, Bo Su (Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, College of Dentistry, Chosun University) ;
  • Lee, Seul Ah (Department of Oral Biochemistry, College of Dentistry, Chosun University) ;
  • Moon, Sung Min (Oral Biology Research Institute, Chosun University) ;
  • Han, Seul Hee (Department of Oral Biochemistry, College of Dentistry, Chosun University) ;
  • Hwang, Eun Ju (Department of Oral Biochemistry, College of Dentistry, Chosun University) ;
  • Kim, Su-Gwan (Oral Biology Research Institute, Chosun University) ;
  • Kim, Do Kyung (Oral Biology Research Institute, Chosun University) ;
  • Kim, Jin-Soo (Oral Biology Research Institute, Chosun University) ;
  • Park, Bo-Ram (Department of Dental Hygiene, Chodang University) ;
  • Kim, Chun Sung (Department of Oral Biochemistry, College of Dentistry, Chosun University)
  • Received : 2017.11.10
  • Accepted : 2017.12.01
  • Published : 2017.12.31


Ficus carica L. (common fig), one of the first plants cultivated by humans, originated in the Mediterranean basin and currently grows worldwide, including southwest Asia and South Korea. It has been used as a traditional medicine for treatment of metabolic, cardiovascular, and respiratory diseases as well as hemorrhoids and skin infections. Its pharmacological properties have recently been studied in detail, but research on the anti-cancer effect of its latex has been only been studied on a limited basis on several cell lines, such prostate cancer, breast cancer, and leukemia. In this study, we investigated the anti-cancer activity of the latex of Ficus carica L.and its underlying mechanism in FaDu human hypopharynx squamous carcinoma cells. (See Ed. note above) We confirmed through SDS-PAGE analysis and gelatinolytic activity analysis that the latex of Ficus carica contains cysteine protease ficin. Our data showed that the latex inhibited cell growth in a dose-dependent manner. In addition, the latex treatment markedly induced apoptosis in FaDu cells as determined by FACS analysis, elevated expression level of cleaved caspase-9, -3 and PARP (poly (ADP-ribose) polymerase), and. increased the expression of Bax (pro-apoptotic factor) while decreasing the expression of Bcl-2 (anti-apoptotic factor). Taken together, these results suggested that latex containing the ficin inhibited cell growth and induced apoptosis by caspase and the Bcl-2 family signaling pathway in FaDu human hypopharynx squamous carcinoma cells. These findings point to the potential of latex of Ficus carica to provide a novel chemotherapeutic drug due to its growth inhibition effects and induction of apoptosis in human oral cancer cells.


Supported by : Chosun University Dental Hospital


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