The effect of aloe emodin on the proliferation of a new Merkel carcinoma cell line

Lina Wasserman, Smadar Avigad, Einat Beery, Jardena Nordenberg, Eyal Fenig

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


A free-floating cell line has been established from a metastatic lesion of a Merkel cell carcinoma (MCC) patient. The cell line was characterized by immunocytochemical reactions with antibodies against the epithelial and neuroendocrine antigens: Cytokeratin 20, neuron-specific enolase, chromogranin A, neurofilament protein, synaptophysin, and calcitonin. Karyotype analysis of the MCC cells showed deletion in chromosomes 3 and 7, loss of chromosome 10, and several translocations in other chromosomes. No mutation was detected in the TP53 gene, after analyzing the complete coding region. Growth factors such as basic fibroblast growth factor, transforming growth factor-β, and nerve and epidermal growth factors had no effect on the proliferation of the cells. The differentiation-inducing agents sodium butyrate and dimethyl sulfoxide, especially the former, markedly inhibited the proliferation of the MCC cells. Aloe emodin, a natural constituent of aloe vera leaves, significantly inhibited the growth of MCC cells. Aloe emodin has been reported to be nontoxic for normal cells but to possess specific toxicity for neuroectodermal tumor cells. Differentiation-inducing agents, and aloe emodin, merit further investigation as potential agents for treating MCC.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)17-22
Number of pages6
JournalAmerican Journal of Dermatopathology
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2002
Externally publishedYes


  • Aloe emodin
  • Differentiating agents
  • Dimethyl sulfoxide
  • Merkel cell carcinoma
  • Sodium butyrate


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