Isoliquiritigenin induces G2 and M phase arrest by inducing DNA damage and by inhibiting the metaphase/anaphase transition

Iha Park, Kwang Kyun Park, Jung Han Yoon Park, Won Yoon Chung

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59 Citations (Scopus)


Isoliquiritigenin, a natural flavonoid found in licorice, shallots, and bean sprouts, has been demonstrated to inhibit proliferation and to induce apoptosis in a variety of human cancer cells. We attempted to ascertain the underlying mechanism by which isoliquiritigenin induced cell cycle arrest and cytotoxicity in HeLa human cervical cancer cells. Isoliquiritigenin treatment arrested cells in both G2 and M phase. The cells arrested in interphase (G2) showed markers for DNA damage including the formation of γ-H2AX foci and the phosphorylation of ATM and Chk2, whereas the cells arrested in M phase evidenced separate poles and mitotic metaphase-like spindles with partially unaligned chromosomes. The induction of DNA damage and blockade at the metaphase/anaphase transition implied that isoliquiritigenin might function as a topoisomerase II poison, which was further demonstrated via an in vitro topoisomerase II inhibition assay. These results show that isoliquiritigenin inhibits topoiosmerase II activity, and the resultant DNA damage and arrest in mitotic metaphase-like stage contributes to the antiproliferative effects of isoliquiritigenin.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)174-181
Number of pages8
JournalCancer Letters
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2009 May 18

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by the Korea Science and Engineering Foundation (KOSEF) grant funded by the Korea government (MOST) (R01-2004-000-10177-0), and by the Korea Research Foundation Grant funded by the Korean Government (MOEHRD, Basic Research Promotion Fund) (KRF-2005-005-J05902).

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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