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Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDA) has the worst prognosis of all malignancies, and current therapeutic options do not target cancer stem cells (CSCs), which may be the reason for the extreme aggressiveness. The dietary agents sulforaphane and quercetin enriched e.g., in broccoli, and the main and best studied green tea catechin EGCG hold promise as anti-CSC agents in PDA. We examined the efficacy of additional catechins and the combination of these bioactive agents to stem cell features and miRNA signaling. Two established and one primary PDA cell line and non-malignant pancreatic ductal cells were used. Whereas each agent strongly inhibited colony formation, the catechins ECG and CG were more effective than EGCG. A mixture of green tea catechins (GTCs) significantly inhibited viability, migration, expression of MMP-2 and -9, ALDH1 activity, colony and spheroid formation and induced apoptosis, but the combination of GTCs with sulforaphane or quercetin was superior. Following treatment with bioactive agents, the expression of miR-let7-a was specifically induced in cancer cells but not in normal cells and it was associated with K-ras inhibition. These data demonstrate that sulforaphane, quercetin and GTC complement each other in inhibition of PDA progression by induction of miR-let7-a and inhibition of K-ras.

Original publication




Journal article


Int J Oncol

Publication Date





1391 - 1400


Antineoplastic Agents, Antineoplastic Combined Chemotherapy Protocols, Carcinoma, Pancreatic Ductal, Catechin, Cell Line, Tumor, Cell Movement, Drug Synergism, Gene Expression Regulation, Neoplastic, Humans, Isothiocyanates, MicroRNAs, Neoplastic Stem Cells, Pancreatic Neoplasms, Plant Extracts, Proto-Oncogene Proteins, Proto-Oncogene Proteins p21(ras), Quercetin, ras Proteins