Biomolecules & Therapeutics
Domperidone, a Dopamine Receptor D2 Antagonist, Induces Apoptosis by Inhibiting the ERK/STAT3-Mediated Pathway in Human Colon Cancer HCT116 Cells
So Jin Sim1,†, Jeong-Hoon Jang2,†, Joon-Seok Choi2 and Kyung-Soo Chun1,*
1College of Pharmacy, Keimyung University, Daegu 42601,
2College of Pharmacy, Daegu Catholic University, Gyeongsan 38430, Republic of Korea
Tel: +82-53-580-6647
The first two authors contributed equally to this work.
Received: March 20, 2024; Revised: April 11, 2024; Accepted: April 22, 2024; Published online: June 25, 2024.
© The Korean Society of Applied Pharmacology. All rights reserved.

This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License ( which permits unrestricted non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Colorectal cancer (CRC) continues to demonstrate high incidence and mortality rates, emphasizing that implementing strategic measures for prevention and treatment is crucial. Recently, the dopamine receptor D2 (DRD2), a G protein-coupled receptor, has been reported to play multiple roles in growth of tumor cells. This study investigated the anticancer potential of domperidone, a dopamine receptor D2 antagonist, in HCT116 human CRC cells. Domperidone demonstrated concentration- and time-dependent reductions in cell viability, thereby inducing apoptosis. The molecular mechanism revealed that domperidone modulated the mitochondrial pathway, decreasing mitochondrial Bcl-2 levels, elevating cytosolic cytochrome C expression, and triggering caspase- 3, -7, and -9 cleavage. Domperidone decreased in formation of β-arrestin2/MEK complex, which contributing to inhibition of ERK activation. Additionally, treatment with domperidone diminished JAK2 and STAT3 activation. Treatment of U0126, the MEK inhibitor, resulted in reduced phosphorylation of MEK, ERK, and STAT3 without alteration of JAK2 activation, indicating that domperidone targeted both MEK-ERK-STAT3 and JAK2-STAT3 signaling pathways, respectively. Immunoblot analysis revealed that domperidone also downregulated DRD2 expression. Domperidone-induced reactive oxygen species (ROS) generation and N-acetylcysteine treatment mitigated ROS levels and restored cell viability. An in vivo xenograft study verified the significant antitumor effects of domperidone. These results emphasize the multifaceted anticancer effects of domperidone, highlighting its potential as a promising therapeutic agent for human CRC.
Keywords: Domperidone, Dopamine receptor D2, Reactive oxygen species, Colorectal cancer, STAT3, Apoptosis

This Article

Cited By Articles
  • CrossRef (0)