Honokiol induces cytotoxic and cytostatic effects in malignant melanoma cancer cells

Gaurav Kaushik, Satish Ramalingam, Dharmalingam Subramaniam, Parthasarthy Rangarajan, Piero Protti, Prabhu Rammamoorthy, Shrikant Anant, Joshua M.V. Mammen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

40 Scopus citations


Background: Melanomas are aggressive neoplasms with limited therapeutic options. Therefore, developing new therapies with low toxicity is of utmost importance. Honokiol is a natural compound that recently has shown promise as an effective anticancer agent. Methods: The effect of honokiol on melanoma cancer cells was assessed in vitro. Proliferation and physiologic changes were determined using hexosaminidase assay and transmission electron microscopy. Protein expression was assessed by immunoblotting. Results: Honokiol treatment inhibited cell proliferation and induced death. Electron microscopy showed autophagosome formation. Reduced levels of cyclin D1 accompanied cell-cycle arrest. Honokiol also decreased phosphorylation of AKT (known as protein kinase B) and mammalian target of rapamycin, and inhibited γ-secretase activity by down-regulating the expression of γ-secretase complex proteins, especially anterior pharynx-defective 1. Conclusions: Honokiol is highly effective in inhibiting melanoma cancer cells by attenuating AKT/mammalian target of rapamycin and Notch signaling. These studies warrant further clinical evaluation for honokiol alone or with present chemotherapeutic regimens for the treatment of melanomas.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)868-873
Number of pages6
JournalAmerican journal of surgery
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • AKT
  • Cell-cycle arrest
  • Cyclin D1
  • Melanoma
  • mTOR
  • γ-secretase

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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