Econazole Nitrate Induces Apoptosis in MCF-7 Cells via Mitochondrial and Caspase Pathways

Document Type : Research article


1 School of Chemistry and Materials Science, Heilongjiang University, Harbin 150080, PR China

2 Key Laboratory of Forest Plant Ecology, Ministry of Education, Northeast Forestry University, Harbin 150040, PR China


Econazole nitrate (EN), a synthetic compound, is now in use as a routine antifungal drug. EN was shown to have antitumor effect, the tumor cell killing mechanisms, however, remain unclear. In this research, the apoptosis-inducing effect of EN on MCF-7 cells was investigated. The results showed that EN inhibited the proliferation of MCF-7 cells in a time- and dose-dependent manner by MTT method and colony forming assay. MCF-7 cells treated with EN showed typical characteristics of apoptosis including the morphological changes and DNA fragmentation. Meanwhile, the loss of mitochondrial membrane potential was showed by flow cytometry. In addition, western blot analysis showed that EN resulted in the decrease expression of procaspase-3, procaspase-9 and bcl-2. In conclusion, these findings suggest that EN may be an effective way for treating human breast cancer. The anti-tumor mechanisms of EN might involve mitochondrial and caspase pathways.


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