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Vol. 55, No. 1, 2009
Issue release date: December 2008
Chemotherapy 2009;55:6–10
(DOI:10.1159/000166383)

Quercetin Is Able to Demethylate the p16INK4a Gene Promoter

Tan S. · Wang C. · Lu C. · Zhao B. · Cui Y. · Shi X. · Ma X.
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Abstract

Background: Quercetin is a flavonoid found ubiquitously in nature. Studies in vitroand in vivohave suggested that quercetin may have a protective role against colon cancer. Methods: We selected the human colon cancer cell line RKO to investigate the effects of quercetin in vitro. RKO cells were treated with different concentrations of quercetin. Results: In comparison to the control, quercetin was able to inhibit the growth of RKO cells, as measured using the 3-(4,5-dimethylthiazol-2-yl)-2,5-diphenyltetrazolium bromide assay. Untreated RKO cells demonstrated almost complete methylation of the p16INK4a gene. Hypermethylation of the p16INK4a gene was successfully reversed after 120 h of treatment with quercetin. Expression of the p16INK4a gene was restored in a concentration-dependent manner. Conclusion: All these data suggest that quercetin has antitumor properties, probably via demethylation of the p16INK4a gene promoter.



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