Bakuchiol suppresses proliferation of skin cancer cells by directly targeting Hck, Blk, and p38 MAP kinase

Jong Eun Kim, Jae Hwan Kim, Younghyun Lee, Hee Yang, Yong Seok Heo, Ann M. Bode, Ki Won Lee, Zigang Dong

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

34 Scopus citations


Bakuchiol is a meroterpene present in the medicinal plant Psoralea corylifolia, which has been traditionally used in China, India, Japan and Korea for the treatment of premature ejaculation, knee pain, alopecia spermatorrhea, enuresis, backache, pollakiuria, vitiligo, callus, and psoriasis. Here, we report the chemopreventive properties of bakuchiol, which acts by inhibiting epidermal growth factor (EGF)-induced neoplastic cell transformation. Bakuchiol also decreased viability and inhibited anchorage-independent growth of A431 human epithelial carcinoma cells. Bakuchiol reduced A431 xenograft tumor growth in an in vivo mouse model. Using kinase profiling, we identified Hck, Blk and p38 mitogen activated protein kinase (MAPK) as targets of bakuchiol, which directly bound to each kinase in an ATP-competitive manner. Bakuchiol also inhibited EGF-induced signaling pathways downstream of Hck, Blk and p38 MAPK, including the MEK/ERKs, p38 MAPK/MSK1 and AKT/ p70S6K pathways. This report is the first mechanistic study identifying molecular targets for the anticancer activity of bakuchiol and our findings indicate that bakuchiol exhibits potent anticancer activity by targeting Hck, Blk and p38 MAPK.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)14616-14627
Number of pages12
Issue number12
StatePublished - Mar 22 2016


  • Bakuchiol
  • Blk
  • Cell transformation
  • Hck
  • p38 MAPK


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