Materials and methods: In the present study, we evaluated the in vitro cytotoxicity of double and triple combinations consisting of 1'S-1'-acetoxychavicol acetate (ACA), Mycobacterium indicus pranii (MIP) and cisplatin (CDDP) against 14 various human cancer cell lines to address the need for more effective therapy. Our data show synergistic effects in MCF-7 cells treated with MIP:ACA, MIP:CDDP and MIP:ACA:CDDP combinations. The type of interaction between MIP, ACA and CDDP was evaluated based on combination index being <0.8 for synergistic effect. Identifying the mechanism of cell death based on previous studies involved intrinsic apoptosis and nuclear factor kappa B (NF-κB) and tested in Western blot analysis. Inactivation of NF-κB was confirmed by p65 and IκBα, while intrinsic apoptosis pathway activation was confirmed by caspase-9 and Apaf-1 expression.
Results: All combinations confirmed intrinsic apoptosis activation and NF-κB inactivation.
Conclusion: Double and triple combination regimens that target induction of the same death mechanism with reduced dosage of each drug could potentially be clinically beneficial in reducing dose-related toxicities.
PURPOSE: We adopted a combinatorial approach with the joint application of γ-tocotrienol and jerantinine A at lower concentrations in order to minimize toxicity towards non-cancerous cells while improving the potency on brain cancer cells.
METHODS: The antiproliferative potency of individual γ-tocotrienol and jerantinine A as well as combined in low-concentration was firstly evaluated on U87MG cancer and MRC5 normal cells. Morphological changes, DNA damage patterns, cell cycle arrests and the effects of individual and combined low-concentration compounds on microtubules were then investigated. Finally, the potential roles of caspase enzymes and apoptosis-related proteins in mediating the apoptotic mechanisms were investigated using apoptosis antibody array, ELISA and Western blotting analysis.
RESULTS: Combinatorial study between γ-tocotrienol at a concentration range (0-24µg/ml) and fixed IC20 concentration of jerantinine A (0.16µg/ml) induced a potent antiproliferative effect on U87MG cells and led to a reduction on the new half maximal inhibitory concentration of γ-tocotrienol (i.e.tIC50=1.29µg/ml) as compared to that of individual γ-tocotrienol (i.e. IC50=3.17µg/ml). A reduction on undesirable toxicity to MRC5 normal cells was also observed. G0/G1 cell cycle arrest was evident on U87MG cells receiving IC50 of individual γ-tocotrienol and combined low-concentration compounds (1.29µg/ml γ-tocotrienol + 0.16µg/ml jerantinine A), whereas, a profound G2/M arrest was evident on cells treated with IC50 of individual jerantinine A. Additionally, individual jerantinine A and combined compounds (except individual γ-tocotrienol) caused a disruption of microtubule networks triggering Fas- and p53-induced apoptosis mediated via the death receptor and mitochondrial pathways.
CONCLUSIONS: These findings demonstrated that the combined use of lower concentrations of γ-tocotrienol and jerantinine A induced potent cytotoxic effects on U87MG cancer cells resulting in a reduction on the required individual concentrations and thereby minimizing toxicity of jerantinine A towards non-cancerous MRC5 cells as well as probably overcoming the high-dose limiting application of γ-tocotrienol. The multi-targeted mechanisms of action of the combination approach have shown a therapeutic potential against brain cancer in vitro and therefore, further in vivo investigations using a suitable animal model should be the way forward.