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Anticancer Res. 2012 Oct;32(10):4413-8.

Effects of ellagic acid on chemosensitivity to 5-fluorouracil in colorectal carcinoma cells.

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Department of Medical Laboratory Science and Biotechnology, Yuanpei University, Hsinchu City, Taiwan, ROC.


Ellagic acid has been demonstrated to inhibit the growth of several types of cancer cells. However, whether it sensitizes human colorectal carcinoma cells to 5-fluorouracil, has not yet been investigated. Colorectal carcinoma HT-29, Colo 320DM, SW480 and LoVo cells were treated with ellagic acid (2.5-25 μg/ml) and 5-fluorouracil (5-25 μM) alone and in combination and then the viability was assessed by trypan blue exclusion, apoptosis by annexin-V labeling, mitochondria membrane potential by staining with rhodamine 123, and changes in the levels of proteins involved in apoptosis by immunoblotting. Ellagic acid and 5-fluorouracil synergistically inhibited cell proliferation of HT-29, Colo 320DM and SW480 cells, but cytotoxicity toward LoVo cells seems not to be potentiated by this combination. The combination also elevated apoptotic cell death of HT-29 and Colo 320DM cells. The mitochondria membrane potential was lost in combination-treated HT-29 cells, due to increased B cell lymphoma 2-associated protein X (BAX): B cell lymphoma 2 protein (BCL-2) ratio and caspase-3 activity. Ellagic acid synergistically potentiated chemosensitivity to 5-fluorouracil in at least three colorectal cancer cell lines. The results indicate that ellagic acid has potential as a novel agent sensitizing colorectal cancer cells to 5-fluorouracil.

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