Int J Biol Sci 2019; 15(8):1676-1684. doi:10.7150/ijbs.35265

Research Paper

Enhancement of oxaliplatin-induced colon cancer cell apoptosis by alantolactone, a natural product inducer of ROS

Peihai Cao1#, Yiqun Xia2#, Wei He1#, Tingting Zhang1#, Lin Hong1, Peisen Zheng1, Xin Shen1, Guang Liang1, Ri Cui1✉, Peng Zou1✉

1. Chemical Biology Research Center, School of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Wenzhou Medical University, Wenzhou, Zhejiang 325035, China
2. Department of Digestive Diseases, The First Affiliated Hospital of Wenzhou Medical University, Wenzhou, Zhejiang 325035, China
# These authors contributed equally to this work

Abstract

Colon cancer is a malignant type of cancer with high prevalence and is one of the primary causes of cancer-related deaths. Oxaliplatin plays a significant role in the treatment of cancer, but the application of oxaliplatin is restricted due to its toxic side effects and drug resistance in clinical practice. Therefore, there is an urgent need for new strategies that can synergize with oxaliplatin for confronting colon cancer. Alantolactone (ALT), a natural sesquiterpene lactone, possesses antitumor properties in a number of cancer cell lines. In the present study, we investigated how ALT acts synergistically with oxaliplatin on human colorectal cancer HCT116 and RKO cells in vitro and in vivo. We observed that ALT strengthened the effect of oxaliplatin-induced growth restrain and apoptosis in HCT116 and RKO cells. It is through a mechanism concerning remarkable accumulation of intracellular reactive oxygen species (ROS) and activation of JNK and p38 MAPK signaling pathways. These changes ultimately induced apoptosis of HCT116 and RKO cells. Pretreatment of cells with the ROS reversal agent NAC significantly blocked the apoptosis induced by the combination treatment, and suppressed expression of JNK and p38 phosphorylation in HCT116 and RKO cells. In the xenograft model, the combination therapy displayed stronger antitumor activity compared with single agents. Immunohistochemistry of subsequent treatment tumors showed a significant decrease in proliferation as compared to either of the treatments alone. These results suggest that the combination treatment with ALT and oxaliplatin may become a potential therapeutic strategy for colon cancer.

Keywords: Reactive oxygen species, MAPK, Alantolactone, Oxaliplatin, Colon cancer

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How to cite this article:
Cao P, Xia Y, He W, Zhang T, Hong L, Zheng P, Shen X, Liang G, Cui R, Zou P. Enhancement of oxaliplatin-induced colon cancer cell apoptosis by alantolactone, a natural product inducer of ROS. Int J Biol Sci 2019; 15(8):1676-1684. doi:10.7150/ijbs.35265. Available from http://www.ijbs.com/v15p1676.htm