Caffeic acid phenethyl ester inhibits the growth of bladder carcinoma cells by upregulating growth differentiation factor 15

Chen Pang Hou, Ke Hung Tsui, Kang Shuo Chang, Hsin Ching Sung, Shu Yuan Hsu, Yu Hsiang Lin, Pei Shan Yang, Chien Lun Chen, Tsui Hsia Feng, Horng Heng Juang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Caffeic acid phenethyl ester (CAPE), a bioactive component of propolis, has beneficial effects on cancer prevention. Growth differentiation factor 15 (GDF15) is an antitumor gene of bladder cancer. Therefore, this study investigated the anti-cancer effect of CAPE on bladder carcinoma cells and related mechanisms. Methods: The expressions of GDF15, N-myc downstream-regulated gene 1 (NDRG1), and maspin, and the activations of extracellular signal regulated kinase (ERK), c-jun Nterminal kinase (JNK), p38, and 50 adenosine monophosphate-activated protein kinase (AMPK) α1/2 in human bladder cells after gene transfection or knockdown were determined by immunoblot, real-time reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction (RT-qPCR), and reporter assays. The assays of 5-ethynyl-2′-deoxyuridine (EdU), CyQUANT cell proliferation, and Matrigel invasion, and the xenograft animal study were used to assess the cell proliferation, invasion, and tumorigenesis. Results: GDF15 expression in epithelial cells was negatively correlated with neoplasia in vitro. Also, GDF15 exhibits in bladder fibroblasts and smooth muscle cells. CAPE-induced expressions of NDRG1 and maspin decreased cell proliferation and invasion of bladder carcinoma cells in a GDF15-dependent manner in vitro. The xenograft animal study suggesting CAPE attenuated tumor growth in vivo. CAPE increased phosphorylation of ERK, JNK, p38, and AMPKα1/2 to modulate the GDF15 expressions. Pretreatments with ERK, JNK, or p38 inhibitors partially inhibited the CAPE effects on the inductions of GDF15, NDRG1, or maspin. Knockdown of AMPKα1/2 attenuated the CAPE-induced GDF15 expression and cell proliferation in bladder carcinoma cells. Conclusions: Our findings indicate that CAPE is a promising agent for anti-tumor growth in human bladder carcinoma cells via the upregulation of GDF15.

Original languageEnglish
JournalBiomedical Journal
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2022


  • AMPK
  • Bladder
  • CAPE
  • GDF15
  • MAPK
  • NDRG1

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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