Abstract: In this study, the anti-proliferative and anticancer activity of azithromycin (AZM) was examined. In the presence of AZM, cell growth was inhibited more effectively in Hela and SGC-7901 cancer cells, relative to transformed BHK-21 cells. The respective 50% inhibition of cell growth (IC50) values for Hela, SGC-7901 and BHK-21 were 15.66, 26.05 and 91.00 µg/mL at 72 h post incubation, indicative of a selective cytotoxicity against cancer cells. Cell apoptosis analysis using Hoechst nuclear staining and annexin V-FITC binding assay further demonstrated that AZM was capable of inducing apoptosis in both cancer cells and transformed cells. The apoptosis induced by AZM was partly through a caspase-dependent mechanism with an up-regulation of apoptotic protein cleavage PARP and caspase-3 products, as well as a down-regulation of anti-apoptotic proteins, Mcl-1, bcl-2 and bcl-X1. More importantly, a combination of AZM and a low dose of the common anti-cancer chemotherapeutic agent vincristine (VCR), produced a selectively synergistic effect on apoptosis of Hela and SGC-7901 cells, but not BHK-21 cells. In the presence of 12.50 μg/mL of VCR, the respective IC50 values of Hela, SGC-7901 and BHK-21 cells to AZM were reduced to 9.47 µg/mL, 8.43 µg/mL and 40.15 µg/mL at 72 h after the incubation, suggesting that the cytotoxicity of AZM had a selective anti-cancer effect on cancer over transformed cells in vitro. These results imply that AZM may be a potential anticancer agent for use in chemotherapy regimens, and it may minimize side effects via reduction of dosage and enhancing the effectiveness common chemotherapeutic drugs.
Keywords: azithromycin; macrolides; vincristine; cytotoxicity; apoptosis; cancer cells
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Zhou, X.; Zhang, Y.; Li, Y.; Hao, X.; Liu, X.; Wang, Y. Azithromycin Synergistically Enhances Anti-Proliferative Activity of Vincristine in Cervical and Gastric Cancer Cells. Cancers 2012, 4, 1318-1332.
Zhou X, Zhang Y, Li Y, Hao X, Liu X, Wang Y. Azithromycin Synergistically Enhances Anti-Proliferative Activity of Vincristine in Cervical and Gastric Cancer Cells. Cancers. 2012; 4(4):1318-1332.
Zhou, Xuezhang; Zhang, Yuyan; Li, Yong; Hao, Xiujing; Liu, Xiaoming; Wang, Yujiong. 2012. "Azithromycin Synergistically Enhances Anti-Proliferative Activity of Vincristine in Cervical and Gastric Cancer Cells." Cancers 4, no. 4: 1318-1332.