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Nitric Oxide. 2012 May 15;26(4):267-73. doi: 10.1016/j.niox.2012.03.010. Epub 2012 Apr 5.

Concentration- and stage-specific effects of nitrite on colon cancer cell lines.

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Texas Therapeutics Institute at Brown Foundation Institute of Molecular Medicine, The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston, Houston, TX 77030, United States.


Colorectal cancer (CRC) is the second leading cause of cancer-related death in the United States. Nitrite in cured meats is thought to contribute to increased incidence of colon cancer. We sought to determine the effect of nitrite on human colon cancer cell lines at different stages. Our results indicate nitrite has no effect on proliferation of stage 1 SW116 colon cancer cells, while nitrite inhibits proliferation of stage 2 SW480 at 10 nM-100 μM and inhibits stage 3 HCT15 proliferation at 100 nM-1 μM, but promotes a significant increase in proliferation on stage 4 COLO205 cells at 100 μM. Furthermore, nitrite inhibited invasion into Matrigel® of stage 3 SW480 colon cancer cells in a concentration-dependent manner. However, it significantly promotes the invasion of stage 4 cells at 100 μM. Our FACS data demonstrated that nitrite decreased cell cycle progression in SW480 and HCT15 with arrested G2/M transition and delayed G1 phase entry in a concentration-dependent manner. However, 100 μM nitrite promoted cell cycle progression in COLO205 cells with increased S-phase entry. Taken together, our data indicate nitrite inhibits cancer cell progression at low concentrations and early stage but promotes cancer cell progression at higher concentrations in cells representing stage 4 colon carcinomas.

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