Anti-cancer activity of withaferin A in B-cell lymphoma

M. K. McKenna, B. W. Gachuki, S. S. Alhakeem, K. N. Oben, V. M. Rangnekar, R. C. Gupta, S. Bondada

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

58 Scopus citations


Withaferin A (WA), a withanolide from the plant, Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) used in Ayurvedic medicine, has been found to be valuable in the treatment of several medical ailments. WA has been found to have anticancer activity against various solid tumors, but its effects on hematological malignancies have not been studied in detail. WA strongly inhibited the survival of several human and murine B cell lymphoma cell lines. Additionally, in vivo studies with syngeneic-graft lymphoma cells suggest that WA inhibits the growth of tumor but does not affect other proliferative tissues. We demonstrate that WA inhibits the efficiency of NF-κB nuclear translocation in diffuse large B cell lymphomas and found that WA treatment resulted in a significant decrease in protein levels involved in B cell receptor signaling and cell cycle regulation. WA inhibited the activity of heat shock protein (Hsp) 90 as reflected by a sharp increase in Hsp70 expression levels. Hence, we propose that the anti-cancer effects of WA in lymphomas are likely due to its ability to inhibit Hsp90 function and subsequent reduction of critical kinases and cell cycle regulators that are clients of Hsp90.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1088-1098
Number of pages11
JournalCancer Biology and Therapy
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jan 1 2015

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2015 Taylor and Francis Group, LLC.


  • Apoptosis
  • B-cell lymphoma
  • B-cell receptor signaling
  • Withaferin A

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Medicine
  • Oncology
  • Pharmacology
  • Cancer Research


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