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Inhibition of human lung cancer cell proliferation and survival by wine

Carly C Barron1, Jessy Moore1, Theodoros Tsakiridis2, Gary Pickering3 and Evangelia Tsiani1*

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Health Sciences, Brock University, St. Catharines, Ontario L2S 3A1, Canada

2 Department of Oncology, McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario L8S 4L8, Canada

3 Department of Biological Sciences, Cool Climate Oenology and Viticulture Institute (CCOVI), Brock University, St. Catharines, Ontario L2S 3A1, Canada

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Cancer Cell International 2014, 14:6  doi:10.1186/1475-2867-14-6

Published: 23 January 2014



Compounds of plant origin and food components have attracted scientific attention for use as agents for cancer prevention and treatment. Wine contains polyphenols that were shown to have anti-cancer and other health benefits. The survival pathways of Akt and extracellular signal-regulated kinase (Erk), and the tumor suppressor p53 are key modulators of cancer cell growth and survival. In this study, we examined the effects of wine on proliferation and survival of human Non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) cells and its effects on signaling events.


Human NSCLC adenocarcinoma A549 and H1299 cells were used. Cell proliferation was assessed by thymidine incorporation. Clonogenic assays were used to assess cell survival. Immunoblotting was used to examine total and phosphorylated levels of Akt, Erk and p53.


In A549 cells red wine inhibited cell proliferation and reduced clonogenic survival at doses as low as 0.02%. Red wine significantly reduced basal and EGF-stimulated Akt and Erk phosphorylation while it increased the levels of total and phosphorylated p53 (Ser15). Control experiments indicated that the anti-proliferative effects of wine were not mediated by the associated contents of ethanol or the polyphenol resveratrol and were independent of glucose transport into cancer cells. White wine also inhibited clonogenic survival, albeit at a higher doses (0.5-2%), and reduced Akt phosphorylation. The effects of both red and white wine on Akt phosphorylation were also verified in H1299 cells.


Red wine inhibits proliferation of lung cancer cells and blocks clonogenic survival at low concentrations. This is associated with inhibition of basal and EGF-stimulated Akt and Erk signals and enhancement of total and phosphorylated levels of p53. White wine mediates similar effects albeit at higher concentrations. Our data suggest that wine may have considerable anti-tumour and chemoprevention properties in lung cancer and deserves further systematic investigation in animal models of lung cancer.

Cancer; Proliferation; Survival; Akt; Erk; p53; Wine