Date Published: May 17, 2018
Author(s): Cailing Jiang, Shumin Li, Yanjing Li, Yuxian Bai.
Despite recent advances in chemotherapy and surgical resection, the 5-year survival rate of esophageal cancer still remains at the low level. Therefore, it is very important to discover a new agent to improve the life expectancy of patients with esophageal cancer. Dihydroartemisinin (DHA), a semisynthetic derivative of artemisinin, has recently exhibited promising anticancer activity against various cancer cells. But so far, the specific mechanism remains unclear. We have previously demonstrated that DHA reduced viability of esophageal cancer cells in a dose-dependent manner in vitro and induced cell cycle arrest and apoptosis. Here, we extended our study to further observe the efficacy of DHA on esophageal cancer cells in vivo. In the present study, for the first time, we found that DHA significantly inhibits cell proliferation in xenografted tumor compared with the control. The mechanism was that DHA induced cell apoptosis in both human esophageal cancer cell lines Eca109 and Ec9706 in vivo in a dose-dependent manner. The results suggested that DHA was a promising agent against esophageal cancer in the clinical treatment.
Esophageal cancer is currently the fourth most common cause of cancer death in China. The average death attains around 150 thousand people every year [1–3]. Despite recent advances in chemotherapy and surgical resection, the 5-year survival rate remains at the low level [4, 5]. The low survival rate might be due to the lack of early diagnosis, invasion and metastasis of the tumor, and over-reliant on confined drugs with some side effects and resistance, thus producing unsatisfactory results. Therefore, it is very important to discover a new agent to improve the life expectancy of patients with esophageal cancer.
In the current study, we firstly report the antitumor effect of DHA on esophageal cancer in vivo. DHA-treated cells showed characteristics of inhibited growth and promoted apoptosis, suggesting that DHA might be a potent and promising agent to combat esophageal cancer. The antiproliferation effect of DHA in many types of cells has been previously shown [7–12]. Consistent with these reports, our results showed that DHA exerted cytotoxicity on esophageal cancer cells. DHA inhibited cell proliferation and viability in a dose-dependent manner. Because main hallmarks of cancers result from the uncontrolled cell cycle and evading apoptosis , therapeutic drugs such as DHA, which can arrest the cell cycle and promote apoptosis in cancer cells, are highly desired.