Berberine is an alkaloid compound found in many traditionally used medicinal plants, including Indian Barberry (Berberis aristata) and more recently as a synthesized supplement. Much of the focus on berberine has been on its blood sugar lowering effects, but it has a wide range of applications. In some cases, it directly creates breaks in cancer DNA strands, preventing the cancer from replicating. In other studies, berberine interrupts the life cycle of a tumor in breast cancer, colon, and liver cancer cells. Aside from stopping the mechanisms of cancer, berberine reduces inflammation that can lead to the development of tumors, including COX-2 inflammation.
- Berberine overcomes gemcitabine-associated chemoresistance through regulation of Rap1/PI3K-Akt signaling in pancreatic ductal carcinoma. Abstract: Gemcitabine (Gem)-based chemotherapy is one of the first-line treatments for pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC). However, its clinical effect is limited due to development of chemoresistance. Various naturally occurring compounds, including Berberine (BBR), provide an anti-cancer efficacy with time-tested safety, individually and in combination with chemotherapeutic drugs. Accordingly, we hypothesized that BBR might enhance the chemosensitivity to Gem in PDAC. In this study, cell culture studies using MIA PaCa-2 and BxPC-3 cells, followed by analysis in patient derived organoids were performed to evaluate the anti-cancer effects of BBR in PDAC. Considering that cancer is a significant manifestation of increased chronic inflammatory stress, systems biology approaches are prudent for the identification of molecular pathways and networks responsible for phytochemical-induced anti-cancer activity, we used these approaches for BBR-mediated chemosensitization to Gem. Firstly, Gem-resistant (Gem-R) PDAC cells were established, and the combination of BBR and Gem revealed superior anti-cancer efficacy in Gem-R cells. Furthermore, the combination treatment induced cell cycle arrest and apoptosis in Gem-R PDAC cells. Transcriptomic profiling investigated the Rap1 and PI3K-Akt signaling pathway as a key regulator of Gem-resistance and was a key mediator for BBR-mediated chemosensitization in PDAC cells. All cell culture-based findings were successfully validated in patient-derived organoids. In conclusion, we demonstrate that BBR-mediated reversal of chemoresistance to Gem manifests through Rap1/PI3K-Akt signaling in PDAC. [Okuno K, Xu C, Pascual-Sabater S, et al. Berberine overcomes gemcitabine-associated chemoresistance through regulation of Rap1/PI3K-Akt signaling in pancreatic ductal carcinoma. Pharmaceuticals. 2022;15:1199.]
- Berberine and oligomeric proanthocyanidins exhibit synergistic efficacy through regulation of PI3K-Akt signaling pathway in colorectal cancer. Background: Naturally occurring dietary botanicals offer time-tested safety and anti-cancer efficacy, and a combination of certain compounds has shown to overcome the elusive chemotherapeutic resistance, which is of great significance for improving the mortality of patients with colorectal cancer (CRC). Accordingly, herein, we hypothesized that berberine (BBR) and oligomeric proanthocyanidins (OPCs) might regulate synergistically multiple oncogenic pathways to exert a superior anti-cancer activity in CRC. Methods: We performed a series of cell culture studies, followed by their interrogation in patient-derived organoids to evaluate the synergistic effect of BBR and OPCs against CRC. In addition, by performing whole genome transcriptomic profiling we identified the key targeted genes and pathways regulated by the combined treatment. Results: We first demonstrated that OPCs facilitated enhanced cellular uptake of BBR in CRC cells by measuring the fluorescent signal of BBR in cells treated individually or their combination. The synergism between BBR and OPCs were investigated in terms of their anti-tumorigenic effect on cell viability, clonogenicity, migration, and invasion. Furthermore, the combination treatment potentiated the cellular apoptosis in an Annexin V binding assay. March 20, 2023 Transcriptomic profiling identified oncogene MYB in PI3K-AKT signaling pathway might be critically involved in the anti-tumorigenic properties of the combined treatment. Finally, we successfully validated these findings in patient-derived CRC tumor organoids. Conclusions: Collectively, we for the first time demonstrate that a combined treatment of BBR and OPCs synergistically promote the anti-tumorigenic properties in CRC possibly through the regulation of cellular apoptosis and oncogene MYB in the PI3K-Akt signaling pathway. [Okunu K, Garg R, Yuan YC, Tokunaga M, Kinugasa Y, Goel A. Berberine and oligomeric proanthocyanidins exhibit synergistic efficacy through regulation of PI3K-Akt signaling pathway in colorectal cancer. Front Oncol. 2022;12:855860]