Amla (Indian gooseberry) a member of genus Emblica officinalis is an important dietary source of vitamin C and phenolic compounds such as tannin and rutin. For decades, it has been used as Ayurvedic medicine for the treatment of inflammation and gastrointestinal related disorders. Here we report for the first time the anti-cancer effects of the aqueous extract of Amla on capan-2 human pancreatic cancer cells and further evaluated the molecular mechanisms of Amla-induced apoptosis. Our results demonstrate that treatment of capan-2 cells with the aqueous extract of Amla for 24h resulted in the significantly reduced survival of cells with an IC50 of about 60µg/ml. Amla also induced apoptosis in a concentration and time-dependent manner as exhibited by caspase-3 and PARP cleavage. Further, Amla treatment resulted in the activation of ERK at Thr-202/Tyr-204 and U0126, an ERK inhibitor offered significant protection against Amla-induced apoptosis in capan-2 cells. In order to determine the role of growth factor receptors in Amla mediated activation of ERK, cells were treated with suramin (growth factor receptor inhibitor) prior to Amla treatment. Suramin pretreatment not only markedly reduced the level of ERK phosphorylation in Amla treated cells but also completely protected the cells from Amla induced apoptosis as assessed by cell death assay and PARP cleavage. Taken together, our results suggest that Amla has a potential to be used as novel therapeutic agent for the treatment of pancreatic cancer. [Supported in part by RO1 grant CA 106953 (to S.K.S) awarded by the National Cancer Institute].

99th AACR Annual Meeting-- Apr 12-16, 2008; San Diego, CA