Green tea polyphenol epigallocatechin‐3‐gallate enhances 5‐fluorouracil‐induced cell growth inhibition of hepatocellular carcinoma cells

Department of Hepatobiliary Surgery, the Second Affiliated Hospital of Guangzhou Medical University Department of Ophthalmology, Guangzhou No. 8 People's Hospital, Guangzhou, China.
Hepatology Research (Impact Factor: 2.74). 01/2012; 42(5):494-501. DOI: 10.1111/j.1872-034X.2011.00947.x
Source: PubMed


Aim: 5-Fluorouracil (5-FU) is one of the most commonly used chemotherapeutic drugs. Resistance to 5-FU is a major cause of chemotherapy failure in advanced-stage hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). Green tea polyphenol Epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG) plays a critical role in growth inhibition and apoptotic induction in HCC cell lines. The aim of this study is to investigate whether EGCG can enhance 5-FU-induced cell growth inhibition and to explore its potential mechanisms.
Methods: 3-(4,5-Dimethylthiazol-2-yl)-2,5-diphenyltetrazolium bromide (MTT) assay was used to evaluate cell growth. Western blotting analysis was performed to detect the proteins expression in Hep3B cells. Small interfering RNA was used to suppress cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) expression. Furthermore, enzyme linked immunosorbent assay was used to test the prostaglandin E2 (PGE2) production in cell cultures.
Results: Epigallocatechin-3-gallate augmented the anti-tumor effect of 5-FU in Hep3B cells. Significant difference was observed between the treated groups and the control group (P < 0.05). EGCG (its concentrations at over 5 µmol/L) combined with 5-FU presented a synergic effect. Furthermore, the combination of EGCG and 5-FU abrogated the COX-2 overexpression and PGE2 secretion induced by 5-FU. The upregulation of COX-2 expression decreased the phosphorylation of Akt (Thr308) expression. These appeared to be followed by the AMPK hyperactivation.
Conclusion: Epigallocatechin-3-gallate sensitizes HCC cells to 5-FU antitumor activity, and the combination of EGCG and 5-FU exhibits synergism in chemo-resistant cancer cells. The results suggest potential novel therapies for the treatment of advanced-stage liver cancer.

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