Frontiers in Bioscience-Landmark (FBL) is published by IMR Press from Volume 26 Issue 5 (2021). Previous articles were published by another publisher on a subscription basis, and they are hosted by IMR Press on imrpress.com as a courtesy and upon agreement with Frontiers in Bioscience.
The development of head and neck squamous cell carcinomas (HNSCCs) is a multistep process progressing from precancerous lesions to highly malignant tumors. A critical role in HNSCCs development and progression is played by EGFR family members including EGFR and ErbB2. The aim of this study was to investigate the effect of apigenin, a low molecular weight flavonoid contained in fruits and vegetables, on growth and survival and on EGFR/ErbB2 signaling in cell lines derived from HNSCCs of the tongue (CAL-27, SCC-15) or pharynx (FaDu). Using sulforhodamine B assay, FACS analysis and activated caspase-3 detection by immunofluorescence, we here demonstrate that apigenin dose-dependently inhibits survival and induces apoptosis of HNSCC cells. Further, by performing western blotting with antibodies specific for phosphorylated EGFR, ErbB2, Erk1/2 and Akt we demonstrate that apigenin reduces ligand-induced phosphorylation of EGFR and ErbB2 and impairs their downstream signaling. On the whole, our results suggest that apigenin properties might be exploited for chemoprevention and/or therapy of head and neck carcinomas.