Neuroendocrine| Volume 173, ISSUE 1, P12-18, January 2023

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Baicalein activates 5’ adenosine monophosphate-activated protein kinase, inhibits the mammalian target of rapamycin, and exhibits antiproliferative effects in pancreatic neuroendocrine tumors in vitro and in vivo

Published:October 04, 2022DOI:



      The mammalian target of rapamycin inhibition has been shown to prolong progression-free survival in patients with pancreatic neuroendocrine tumors. The natural compound baicalein indirectly inhibits the mammalian target of rapamycin, but it is unknown if baicalein exhibits such effects at physiologically achievable concentrations or exhibits synergy.


      Pancreatic neuroendocrine tumor cell lines were cultured with baicalein, everolimus, and/or a synthetic 5’ adenosine monophosphate-activated protein kinase activating agent alone and in combination. Cell viability assays and immunoblotting were performed. Female severe combined immunodeficient-beige mice were injected with BON-1 cells and treated with baicalein and COH-SR4 solutions via oral gavage. Tumor volumes were compared at 30 days.


      Immunoblotting revealed that treatment of baicalein induced 5’ adenosine monophosphate-activated protein kinase activation and the mammalian target of rapamycin inhibition. Treatment with baicalein alone led to a significant decrease in the ratio of viable cells compared with controls at 72 hours at concentrations ≥5 μM (P = .021). The addition of COH-SR4 led to significantly greater effect on cell viability than with baicalein alone (P < .001, P < .001). The combination of baicalein with everolimus resulted in significantly lower cell viability than with everolimus alone (P = .005, P < .001). Tumor volume in vivo was significantly decreased with the combination of baicalein and COH-SR4 compared with controls (P = .003).


      Baicalein exhibits antiproliferative effects against pancreatic neuroendocrine tumor cell lines at doses ≥5 μM and demonstrates synergy.
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