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Oncol Lett. 2015 Jul;10(1):463-468. Epub 2015 May 14.

Proflavin suppresses the growth of human osteosarcoma MG63 cells through apoptosis and autophagy.

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Department of Orthopaedics, Jining No. 1 People's Hospital, Jining, Shandong 272011, P.R. China.
Department of Gynaecology and Obstetrics, Affiliated Hospital of Shandong Academy of Medical Sciences, Jinan, Shandong 250062, P.R. China ; Department of Gynaecology and Obstetrics, Shandong Academy of Medical Sciences, Jinan, Shandong 250062, P.R. China.


Proflavin is one of the novel acridine derivatives that possess various pharmacological effects. Although numerous studies have been performed to investigate proflavin, its effects have not been investigated on the human osteosarcoma MG63 cell line. The core aim of the present study was to test the effects of proflavin on the viability of MG63 cells and the induction of apoptosis and autophagy in MG63 cells. The induction of apoptosis was examined by measuring the changes in the expression of the B-cell lymphoma 2 (Bcl-2) and Bcl-2-associated X protein mRNA and proteins. Apoptotic cell death was identified by the proteolytic cleavage of poly (adenosine diphosphate-ribose) polymerase and caspase-3 and caspase-9. In addition, the autophagic effects of proflavin were examined by the quantitation of the mRNA expression of autophagy protein 5 and Beclin 1, in addition to the identification of the accumulation of microtubule-associated protein 1 light chain 3-II. The present results revealed that proflavin inhibited the proliferation of MG63 cells in a dose-dependent manner. Proflavin-induced cell death was attributed to apoptosis and autophagy. Overall, the present results indicated that the antiseptic agent proflavin exerts anticancer potential through the synergistic activity of apoptosis and autophagy.


MG63 cells; apoptosis; autophagy; proflavin

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