Send to

Choose Destination
Oncol Lett. 2016 Sep;12(3):2159-2162. Epub 2016 Jul 5.

Antiproliferative/cytotoxic effects of molecular iodine, povidone-iodine and Lugol's solution in different human carcinoma cell lines.

Author information

Institute of Zoology, University of Hohenheim, D-70593 Stuttgart, Germany.
Synlab Medical Services, MCZ Synlab Leinfelden, D-70771 Leinfelden, Germany.
Practice for Gynaecology and Obstetrics, D-88416 Ochsenhausen, Germany.


Clinical trials have revealed that molecular iodine (I2) has beneficial effects in fibrocystic breast disease and in cyclic mastalgia. Likewise, povidone-iodine (PVP-I), which is widely used in clinical practice as an antiseptic agent following tumour surgery, has been demonstrated to have cytotoxic effects on colon cancer and ascites tumour cells. Our previous study indicated that the growth of breast cancer and seven other human malignant cell lines was variably diminished by I2 and iodolactones. With the intention of developing an iodine-based anticancer therapy, the present investigations extended these studies by comparing the cytotoxic capacities of I2, potassium iodide (KJ), PVP-I and Lugol's solution on various human carcinoma cell lines. Upon staining the cell nuclei with Hoechst 33342, the cell densities were determined microscopically. While KJ alone did not affect cell proliferation, it enhanced the antiproliferative activity of I2. In addition, PVP-I significantly inhibited the proliferation of human MCF-7 breast carcinoma, IPC melanoma, and A549 and H1299 lung carcinoma cells in a concentration corresponding to 20 µM I2. Likewise, Lugol's solution in concentrations corresponding to 20-80 µM I2 were observed to reduce the growth of MCF-7 cells. Experiments with fresh human blood samples revealed that the antiproliferative activity of PVP-I and I2 is preserved in blood plasma to a high degree. These findings suggest that PVP-I, Lugol's solution, and a combination of iodide and I2 may be potent agents for use in the development of antitumour strategies.


antiproliferative effects; human carcinoma cells; iodine compounds

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center