Berberine (BBR) is a natural alkaloid with significant antitumor activities against many types of cancer cells. This study investigated the molecular mechanisms by which BBR suppresses the growth of HER2-overexpressing breast cancer cells. The results show that BBR induces G1-phase cell cycle arrest by interfering with the expression of cyclins D1 and E and that it induces cellular apoptosis through the induction of a mitochondria/caspase pathway. The data also indicate that BBR inhibits cellular growth and promotes apoptosis by down-regulating the HER2/PI3K/Akt signaling pathway. Furthermore, it is also shown that a combination of taxol and BBR significantly slows the growth rate of HER2-overexpressing breast cancer cells. In conclusion, this study suggests that BBR could be a useful adjuvant therapeutic agent in the treatment of HER2-overexpressing breast cancer.
Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry 59(15), pp.8216–8224