Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

First Advisor

Dianzheng Zhang, PhD

Second Advisor

Denah M Appelt, PhD

Third Advisor

Ruth Borghaei, PhD


Radiotherapy and surgery are the two principal modalities in the treatment of head and neck cancers, and both therapies can result in severe adverse effects and ultimately lower the quality of life. It is of paramount importance to develop reagents that target the cancer cell specifically without affecting the normal non-cancer cells. Using the tongue cancer cell line Cal 27 as a model system, we dissected the molecular mechanism of the resveratrol-induced cancer cell apoptosis. After demonstrating that resveratrol induces the cancer cell apoptosis in a dose- and time-dependent manner, a systemic apoptosis protein array was conducted to identify the resveratrol-induced proteins pertinent to the apoptotic pathways. Ten of the 43 proteins included in the array were up- or down-regulated by resveratrol by about 50 percent. Finally, the activation of caspase-3 and the cleavage of PARP in resveratrol-induced apoptotic cells were confirmed by western blot. We postulate resveratrol induces apoptosis in Cal-27 cells which will render the cells from being able to repair double-stranded-break in the DNA as both P53 and P21 will be up regulated and thus leading to senesce of the cell replication, suggesting that resveratrol could potentially serve as a chemo-preventive reagent.