Antitumor activity of capsaicin on human colon cancer cells in vitro and colo 205 tumor xenografts in vivo

Hsu Feng Lu, Yuan Liang Chen, Jai Sing Yang, Yi Yuan Yang, Jia You Liu, Shu Chun Hsu, Kuang Chi Lai, Jing Gung Chung

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91 Citations (Scopus)


Capsaicin was reported to inhibit cancer cell growth. The aim of this study was to evaluate the antitumor potential of capsaicin by studying antitumor activity in vitro as well as in vivo. The in vitro studies are to examine the effects of capsaicin on human colon cancer colo 205 cells after exposure to capsaicin. The results showed that capsaicin induced cytotoxic effects in a time-and dose-dependent manner and increased reactive oxygen species (ROS) and Ca2+ but decreased the level of mitochondrial membrane potential (Δψm) in colo 205 cells. Data from Western blotting analysis indicated that the levels of Fas, cytochrome c, and caspases were increased, leading to cell apoptosis. Capsaicin decreased the levels of anti-apoptotic proteins such as Bcl-2 and increased the levels of pro-apoptotic proteins such as Bax. Capsaicin-induced apoptosis in colo 205 cells was also done through the activations of caspase-8,-9 and-3. In vivo studies in immunodeficient nu/nu mice bearing colo 205 tumor xenografts showed that capsaicin effectively inhibited tumor growth. The potent in vitro and in vivo antitumor activities of capsaicin suggest that capsaicin might be developed for the treatment of human colon cancer.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)12999-13005
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry
Issue number24
Publication statusPublished - Dec 22 2010


  • apoptosis
  • Capsaicin
  • caspases activation
  • Fas/FasL
  • human colon cancer colo 205 cells

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • Chemistry(all)


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