Icaritin (IT) is a flavonoid isolated from Herba Epimedii. In this study, we evaluated the anti-melanoma activities of IT, and determined its cytotoxic mechanism. We found that IT exerted cytotoxicity to melanoma cells. Furthermore, IT induced melanoma cell apoptosis, which was accompanied with PARP cleavage. Mechanistically, IT suppressed p-STAT3 (tyr705) level in parallel with increases of p-STAT3 (ser727), p-ERK and p-AKT. IT significantly inhibited STAT3 nuclear translocation and reduced the levels of STAT3 -targeted genes. IT also inhibited IGF-1-induced STAT3 activation through down-regulation of total IGF-1R level. No dramatic changes in IGF-1R mRNA levels were observed in IT-treated cells, suggesting that IT acted primarily at a posttranscriptional level. Using molecular docking analysis, IT was identified as a novel fatty acid synthase (FASN) inhibitor. We found that IT reduced the level of total IGF-1R via FASN inhibition. In summary, we reported that IT exerted anti-melanoma activities, and these effects were partially due to inhibition of FASN/IGF-1R/STAT3 signaling.
Scopus Subject Areas