Background: Ovarian cancer is the most lethal gynecologic malignancy worldwide with
poor prognosis owing to chemotherapy resistance and cancer relapse. Hence, there is an urgent
need to develop novel anticancer agents against ovarian cancer.
Objective: The aim of this research is to investigate the possible anticancer activity of aloperine, an
active ingredient from a traditional Chinese medicine Sophora alopecuroides, and to explore the
possible Reactive Oxygen Species (ROS)-related mechanism.
Methods: Cell viability, cytotoxicity, apoptosis, ROS generation, and oxidant stress indicators
Results: Our results demonstrated that aloperine significantly induced inhibition of cell viability,
promoted cytotoxicity and mitochondrial-related apoptosis, and increased ROS generation in
ovarian cancer cells. Furthermore, the antioxidant α-lipoic acid reversed apoptosis in aloperinetreated
cells. In addition, we identified hydrogen peroxide as the main type of ROS, and the antioxidant
catalase suppressed the apoptotic inducing effect of aloperine whereas hydrogen peroxide supplement
exacerbated the effect of aloperine in ovarian cancer cells.
Conclusion: Taken together, our results indicated that aloperine could exert anti-ovarian cancer
cell activity through a reactive oxygen species activation mechanism and suggested aloperine as a
potential agent against ovarian cancer.