Background/Aims: Although the cure rate for retinoblastoma is high, surviving patients are at risk for developing secondary cancers and require life-long follow-up. It is imperative to discover and develop novel therapeutic agents with better efficiency and fewer adverse effects. Ginsenoside-Rg5 is an active derivate from ginseng and exerts anti-cancer activity in breast cancer cells. However, it is still unclear whether ginsenoside-Rg5 has similar anti-cancer functions in retinoblastoma. Methods: Retinoblastoma cells were treated with ginsenoside-Rg5, followed by MTT assay analysis of the cell viability, cell number assay and colony formation assay analyses of cell proliferation, and flow cytometric analysis of apoptosis. Gene mRNA levels and protein levels were determined by quantitative real-time PCR and Western blot, respectively. Results: Ginsenoside-Rg5 inhibited retinoblastoma cell viability in a dose-dependent and time-dependent manner via preventing cell proliferation and inducing cell apoptosis. BCL2 expression was downregulated by ginsenoside-Rg5 treatment via inactivating the AKT signaling pathway. BCL2 overexpression completely eliminated the inhibitory effect of ginsenoside-Rg5 on cancer cell viability. Conclusion: Ginsenoside-Rg5 inhibits cell proliferation and induces apoptosis in retinoblastoma cells by inactivating the AKT signaling pathway, thereby downregulating BCL2 expression.

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