Anticancer activity of an extract from needles and twigs of Taxus cuspidata and its synergistic effect as a cocktail with 5-fluorouracil.?
Shang W, Qiao J, Gu C, Yin W, Du J, Wang W, Zhu M, Han M, Lu W. BMC Complement Altern Med. 2011 Dec 2;11:123. doi: 10.1186/1472-6882-11-123.
Botanical medicines are increasingly combined with chemotherapeutics as anticancer drug cocktails. This study aimed to assess the chemotherapeutic potential of an extract of Taxus cuspidata (TC) needles and twigs produced by artificial cuttage and its co-effects as a cocktail with 5-fluorouracil (5-FU).
Components of TC extract were identified by HPLC fingerprinting. Cytotoxicity analysis was performed by MTT assay or ATP assay. Apoptosis studies were analyzed by H & E, PI, TUNEL staining, as well as Annexin V/PI assay. Cell cycle analysis was performed by flow cytometry. 5-FU concentrations in rat plasma were determined by HPLC and the pharmacokinetic parameters were estimated using 3p87 software.Synergistic efficacy was subjected to median effect analysis with the mutually nonexclusive model using Calcusyn1 software. The significance of differences between values was estimated by using a one-way ANOVA.
TC extract reached inhibition rates of 70-90% in different human cancer cell lines (HL-60, BGC-823, KB, Bel-7402, and HeLa) but only 5-7% in normal mouse T/B lymphocytes, demonstrating the broad-spectrum anticancer activity and low toxicity to normal cells of TC extract in vitro. TC extract inhibited cancer cell growth by inducing apoptosis and G(2)/M cell cycle arrest. Most interestingly, TC extract and 5-FU, combined as a cocktail, synergistically inhibited the growth of cancer cells in vitro, with Combination Index values (CI) ranging from 0.90 to 0.26 at different effect levels from IC50 to IC90 in MCF-7 cells, CI ranging from 0.93 to 0.13 for IC40 to IC90 in PC-3M-1E8 cells, and CI < 1 in A549 cells. In addition, the cocktail had lower cytotoxicity in normal human cell (HEL) than 5-FU used alone. Furthermore, TC extract did not affect the pharmacokinetics of 5-FU in rats. The combinational use of the TC extract with 5-FU displays strong cytotoxic synergy in cancer cells and low cytotoxicity in normal cells. These findings suggest that this cocktail may have a potential role in cancer treatment.

5-Fluorouracil combined with apigenin enhances anticancer activity through induction of apoptosis in human breast cancer MDA-MB-453 cells.
Choi & Kim (2009) investigated the effects of combined treatment with 5-fluorouracil and apigenin on proliferation and apoptosis, as well as the underlying mechanism, in human breast cancer MDA-MB-453 cells. The MDA-MB-453 cells, which have been shown to overexpress ErbB2, were resistant to 5-fluorouracil; 5-fluorouracil exhibited a small dose-dependent anti-proliferative effect, with an IC50 of 90 microM.
Interestingly, combined treatment with apigenin significantly decreased the resistance. Cellular proliferation was significantly inhibited in cells exposed to 5-fluorouracil at its IC50 and apigenin (5, 10, 50 and 100 microM), compared with proliferation in cells exposed to 5-fluorouracil alone. This inhibition in turn led to apoptosis, as evidenced by an increased number of apoptotic cells and the activation of caspase-3. To investigate the mechanism by which the combination of 5-fluorouracil and apigenin induces apoptosis, ErbB2 expression was analyzed. The level of ErbB2 was unchanged by 5-fluorouracil alone but was drastically reduced in cells treated with 5-fluorouracil plus apigenin. Moreover, compared with 5-fluorouracil alone, 5-fluorouracil in combination with apigenin at concentrations >10 microM exerted a pro-apoptotic effect via the inhibition of Akt expression. Taken together, results suggest that 5-fluorouracil acts synergistically with apigenin inhibiting cell growth and inducing apoptosis via the down-regulation of ErbB2 expression and Akt signaling.
Choi EJ, Kim GH. Oncol Rep. 2009 Dec;22(6):1533-7.

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