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J Urol. 2006 Oct;176(4 Pt 1):1642-7.

Vitamins C and K3 sensitize human urothelial tumors to gemcitabine.

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Department of Urology, University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, Texas 77030, USA.



We evaluated the antitumor effects of vitamins C and K3 for human urothelial carcinoma and the potential use of the combination of vitamins C plus K3 as a sensitizing agent for conventional chemotherapy for urothelial carcinoma.


The antiproliferative and apoptotic effects of vitamin C alone, vitamin K3 alone, vitamins C plus K3, gemcitabine alone and gemcitabine plus vitamins C plus K3 were assessed in vitro by MTT (3-(4,5-dimethylthiazol-2-yl)-2,5-diphenyltetrazolium bromide) assay, propidium iodide staining and flow cytometry. For in vivo studies we implanted UMUC-14 tumorigenic urothelial carcinoma cells into the subcutis of nude mice. One week later we treated 10 mice each with saline (control), vitamins C plus K3, gemcitabine or gemcitabine plus vitamins C plus K3. Treatment was continued for 4 weeks, followed by necropsy. Tumor volume was measured and tumor kinetics were established. Apoptosis and proliferation were evaluated in tumor sections using immunohistochemistry and TUNEL assay.


Vitamins C plus K3 induced cytostasis and caused apoptosis to a greater degree than either vitamin alone (p < 0.05). Vitamins C plus K3 also substantially augmented the effects of gemcitabine in vitro. There were 32.3% apoptosis with gemcitabine plus vitamins C plus K3, 5.3% with gemcitabine alone and 15.8% with vitamins C plus K3 alone (p < 0.05). In vivo tumor growth was substantially inhibited by gemcitabine plus vitamins C plus K3 compared with that in the control or for either agent alone. Mean tumor weight and growth rate in the gemcitabine plus vitamins C plus K3 group (237 mg and 11.3 mm3 daily) were decreased compared with those in the control (530 mg and 34.3 mm3 daily), and those for vitamins C plus K3 alone (490 mg and 25.2 mm3 daily) and gemcitabine alone (400 mg and 21.3 mm3 daily) (p < 0.05).


Vitamins C and K3 have significant antiproliferative and apoptotic effects when used in combination. This combination enhances the efficacy of gemcitabine against bladder cancer in vivo.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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