In vitro and in vivo superior radiosensitizing effect of berbamine for head and neck squamous cell carcinoma.
Onco Targets Ther. 2018 ;11:8117-8125. Epub 2018 Nov 14. PMID: 30532553
Background: Berbamine (BBM), one of the bis-benzylisoquinoline products isolated from, has been demonstrated for its anticancer effect against leukemia, breast cancer, liver cancer, etc. There are some studies focusing on the chemosensitization effect of BBM. However, there is no report about whether BBM could enhance the anticancer effect of radiation, which made us to explore the possible radiosensitization effect of BBM.
Materials and methods: Here, in vitro cytotoxicity of BBM was evaluated on two kinds of head and neck squamous cancer cell lines. Clonogenic assay was performed to study the radiosensitization effect of BBM. Western blot was utilized to elucidate the possible mechanism underlying the radiosensitization effect.
Results: BBM effectively inhibited the growth of two kinds of cancer cells in a time- and dose-dependent manner. Radiation plus BBM led to significantly more reduction of the colony-forming ability of cancer cells when compared with radiation alone. BBM plus radiation led to the most reduction of STAT3 phosphorylation, followed by the significant decrease of the ratio of Bax/Bcl-2. In vivo study demonstrated that the combinational administration of BBM and radiation generated the most significant tumor-delaying effect among all of the treatment regimens.
Conclusion: We reported, in the current study, the potential role of BBM in not only treating cancer by itself but also offering a promising way to improve the efficacy of radiotherapy by inhibiting the activation of STAT3 and subsequently inducing the apoptosis of cancer.