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Life Sci. 2018 Jul 15;205:9-17. doi: 10.1016/j.lfs.2018.05.006. Epub 2018 May 5.

Arsenic trioxide induces apoptosis and inhibits the growth of human liver cancer cells.

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Centre for Biological Science (Biotechnology), Central University of South Bihar, BIT Campus, Patna 800014, Bihar, India.
The Research Institute at Nationwide Children's Hospital, Columbus, USA.
Department of Biochemistry, RMRIMS, Agamkuan, Patna 800007, Bihar, India.
Department of Immunology, RMRIMS, Agamkuan, Patna 800007, Bihar, India.
Centre for Biological Science (Biotechnology), Central University of South Bihar, BIT Campus, Patna 800014, Bihar, India. Electronic address:



As a fifth most common cancer type, Hepatocellularcarcinoma (HCC) ranked third leading cause of cancer deaths worldwide. Arsenic trioxide (As2O3) is known as chemotherapeutic agent against few cancer including Acute promyelocyticleukemia and solid tumors. But its effect and possible associated mechanism in HCC is meager. Present study aimed to assess As2O3 modulatory effect on liver cancer by assessing cell growth and viability.


Liver normal (Chang liver) and cancerous cells (Hep3B) were exposed to different concentration's (0, 1, 5, 10 & 15 μM) of As2O3 at different intervals (24, 48 & 72 h). Cell growth was assessed microscopically, and Cytotoxicity assays were done through 3-(4,5-dimethylthiazol-2-yl)-2,5-diphenyltetrazolium bromide (MTT) and Water-soluble tetrazolium salt (WST) growth inhibition assays. Cell viability was studied by trypan blue staining. Apoptosis was analyzed by Annexin V/PI assay, and expression of genes (Notch and anti-apoptotic) were determined through western blotting and Q-PCR method.


A significant reduction in cell growth and viability was reported in liver cancerous cells as compare to normal cells at 5 μM As2O3. Consistently, As2O3 induced apoptosis along with down-regulation of anti-apoptotic protein Bcl-xL, and up regulates expression of Notch that leads towards apoptosis.


Results clearly suggest that As2O3 restricted growth and induces apoptosis more in liver cancer cells as compared to normal cells. This finding suggests that it could be a promising potential therapeutic agent against liver cancer which need further testing by in-vivo investigations.


Arsenic trioxide; Cell death; Cytotoxicity; Hepatocellular carcinoma

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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