Melanoma is a type of skin cancer that is caused by a malignant proliferation of melanocytes. Ultraviolet light (UV) exposure can change DNA and its expressions and is the primary cause of melanoma. Applying sunscreen and avoiding UV light can help prevent melanoma to some extent. For patients who already have melanoma, surgical removal is the common treatment strategy. Besides, the identification of new anticancer agents from plants is a new method for treating tumors. It is worth noticing that natural agents have shown broad antitumor activities, as they decrease the proliferation rate of malignant cells and generally display lower side effects. Here, we will introduce a natural diterpene identified from Salvia miltiorrhiza roots, Salviolone.

Salviolone is a natural diterpenoid derivative that can against melanoma cells.

Salviolone (5-60 μM, 72 hours) reduces cell viability in the A375 and MeWo melanoma cell lines with EC50 values of 17 µM and 22 µM, respectively. But it does not affect the growth of normal melanocytes. Moreover, Salviolone (20 μM, 48-72 hours) strongly reduces pRb, pCdk2, and cyclin A2, Tyr705-STAT3 phosphorylation expression levels in A375 cells. And it also strongly increases the P21 and P53 protein expression levels. Salviolone induces sustained activation of the phosphorylation of ERK1/2 and Akt. In addition, Salviolone (10-20 μM) inhibits MMP2 gelatinase activity in the A375 melanoma cell line. All in all, Salviolone exhibits a pleiotropic effect against melanoma by hampering cell cycle progression, STAT3 signaling, and malignant phenotype of A375 melanoma cells.

In conclusion, Salviolone is a natural diterpene identified from Salvia miltiorrhiza roots with an anti-melanoma activity.



1. Valentina Zanrè, et al. Int J Mol Sci. 2022 Jan 20;23(3):1121.