Background: The antitumor mechanism of Rhein has attracted much attention in the current study, and it was found that Rhein could inhibit the growth of the human hepatoma cell line (HepG2).
Objectives: This study aimed to investigate the effect of rhein on the proliferation, invasion, and migration of the HepG2 cells through the extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK) signaling pathway.
Methods: HepG2 was treated with different concentrations of rhein (Rhein treatment group) and cultured in a culture medium alone (control group). The proliferation activity of the cells was determined by methyl Thiazolyl Tetrazolium colorimetry. Transwell assay detected the invasion and migration of the cells in each group. Cell scratch test was used to detect the migration ability of cells in each group. Excella-phospho ERK (p-ERK) activity was determined by ELISA after treatment with 50? mol/L rhein at different times. Western blot was employed to detect the ERK protein expression in the HepG2 cells treated with 50 ?mol/L of rhein.
Results: The proliferation activity, invasion, and migration ability of the HepG2 cells in the rhein-treatment group were all decreased, compared to the control group (P<0.05), and the p-ERK relative activity of the HepG2 cells treated with rhein was decreased (P<0.05).
Conclusion: Rhein inhibits the invasion and migration of the hepatocellular carcinoma cells possibly by inhibiting the ERK pathway.