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This article is the author’s final published version in BMC Cancer, Volume 21, Issue 1, December 2021, Article number 1307.

The published version is available at Copyright © Xu et al.


Background: Esophageal squamous cell carcinoma (ESCC) is the most predominant primary malignant tumor among worldwide, especially in China. To date, the successful treatment remains a mainly clinical challenge, it is imperative to develop successful therapeutic agents.

Methods: The anti-proliferative effect of ivermectin on ESCC is investigated in cell model and in nude mice model. Cell apoptosis was assessed using flow cytometry, TUNEL assay and western blotting. Mitochondrial dysfunction was determined by reactive oxygen species accumulation, mitochondrial membrane potential and ATP levels.

Results: Our results determined that ivermectin significantly inhibited the proliferation of ESCC cells in vitro and in vivo. Furthermore, we found that ivermectin markedly mediated mitochondrial dysfunction and induced apoptosis of ESCC cells, which indicated the anti-proliferative effect of ivermectin on ESCC cells was implicated in mitochondrial apoptotic pathway. Mechanistically, ivermectin significantly triggered ROS accumulation and inhibited the activation of NF-κB signaling pathway and increased the ratio of Bax/Bcl-2.

Conclusions: These finding indicated that ivermectin has significant anti-tumour potential for ESSC and may be a potential therapeutic candidate against ESCC.

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

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