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Anemarrhena asphodeloides, apoptosis, pancreatic cancer, timosaponin‐AIII

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Pancreatic cancer is one of the most recalcitrant and lethal of all cancers. We examined the effects of Anemarrhena asphodeloides (AA) and timosaponin‐AIII (TAIII), a steroidal saponin present in AA, on pancreatic cancer cell proliferation and aimed to elucidate their potential apoptotic mechanisms of action. Viability assays and cell cycle analysis revealed that both AA and TAIII significantly inhibited pancreatic cancer cell proliferation and cell cycle progression compared to treatment with gemcitabine, the standard chemotherapeutic agent for advanced pancreatic cancer. We identified a dose‐dependent increase in caspase‐dependent apoptosis and activation of pro‐apoptotic PI3K/Akt pathway proteins, with a subsequent downregulation of pro‐survival PI3K/Akt pathway proteins, in pancreatic cancer cells treated with AA or TAIII over those treated with gemcitabine.

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FEBS Open Bio, v. 8, issue 7, p. 1155-1166