Angiogenesis and metastasis play pivotal roles in the progression of cancer. We recently discovered that crocin, a dietary carotenoid derived from the Himalayan crocus, inhibited the growth of colon cancer cells. However, the exact role of crocin on the angiogenesis and metastasis in colorectal cancer remains unclear. In the present study, we demonstrated that crocin significantly reduces the viability of colon cancer cells (HT-29, Caco-2) and human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVEC), but was not toxic to human colon epithelial (HCEC) cells. Furthermore, pre-treatment of human carcinoma cells (HT-29 and Caco-2) with crocin inhibited cell migration, invasion, and angiogenesis in concentration -dependent manner. Further studies demonstrated that crocin inhibited TNF-α, NF-κB and VEGF pathways in colon carcinoma cell angiogenesis and metastasis. Crocin also inhibited cell migration, invasion, and tube formation in human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVEC) in a concentration -dependent manner. We also observed that crocin significantly reduced the secretion of VEGF and TNF-α induced activation of NF-kB by human colon carcinoma cells. In the absence of TNF-α, a concentration-dependent reduction in NF-kB was observed. Many of these observations were confirmed by in vivo angiogenesis models, which showed that crocin significantly reduced the progression of tumour growth. Collectively, these finding suggest that crocin inhibits angiogenesis and colorectal cancer cell metastasis by targeting NF-kB and blocking TNF-α/NF-κB/VEGF pathways.
- colorectal cancer