Capsaicin, the most abundant pungent molecule produced by pepper plants, represents an important ingredient in spicy foods consumed throughout the world. Studies have shown that capsaicin can relieve inflammation and has anti-proliferative effects on various human malignancies. Cholangiocarcinoma (CC) is a cancer disease with rising incidence. The prognosis remains dismal with little advance in treatment. The aim of the present study is to explore the anti-tumor activity of capsaicin in cultured human CC cell lines. Capsaicin effectively impaired cell proliferation, migration, invasion, epithelial to mesenchymal transition and growth of softagar colonies. Further, we show that capsaicin treatment of CC cells regulates the Hedgehog signaling pathway.
Our results provide a basis for capsaicin to improve the prognosis of CCs in vivo and present new insights into the effectiveness and mode of action of capsaicin.