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J Med Food. 2012 Dec;15(12):1091-5. doi: 10.1089/jmf.2012.0123. Epub 2012 Nov 7.

Phycocyanin induces apoptosis and enhances the effect of topotecan on prostate cell line LNCaP.

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Department of Biological Sciences, Florida International University, Miami, Florida 33199, USA.


C-phycocyanin (C-PC) from Spirulina has been previously shown to have anticancer properties. Here, we report on anticancer activity of C-PC that was isolated from the novel cyanobacterium Limnothrix sp. 37-2-1. C-PC from this organism exhibited anticancer properties in our in vitro systems; however, the required doses were well above the range of anticancer drugs normally used. Therefore, we conducted several experiments to test whether lower-than-usual doses of the anticancer drug topotecan (TPT) can offer the same level of cytotoxic effects as normal doses when combined with C-PC. For this purpose, cytotoxicities of C-PC and TPT were tested using the LNCaP (prostate cancer) cells. We found that when only 10% of a typical dose of TPT was combined with C-PC, the cancer cells were killed at a higher rate than when TPT was used alone at full dose. Similarly, we were also able to detect an increased level of radical oxygen species (ROS) generation as well as an increase in activities of caspase-9 and caspase-3 when these two compounds were used in combination. Taken together, our findings suggest that combining C-PC from Limnothrix sp. with the lower dose of TPT can induce apoptosis through generation of ROS and activation of caspases. In that respect, we suggest that C-PC can potentially improve the efficacy of the currently available anticancer drug, and therefore diminish its harsh side effects in the patient.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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