Oroxylin A improves the sensitivity of HT-29 human colon cancer cells to 5-FU through modulation of the COX-2 signaling pathway.
ABSTRACT 5-Fluorouracil (5-FU) is a principal drug for the treatment of colorectal cancer. Due to its low response and high toxicity, synergistic effects of 5-FU in combination with other drugs have been widely researched. This study investigated whether oroxylin A improved the sensitivity of HT-29 human colon cancer cells to 5-FU. A correlation between COX-2 inhibition by oroxylin A and a synergistic effect of 5-FU on the growth of HT-29 cells was observed, and a COX-2 pathway for this effect was recognized; oroxylin A evidently elevated the level of reactive oxygen species in HT-29 cells, which subsequently inhibited COX-2 expression and enhanced the susceptibility of HT-29 cells to 5-FU. Likely also related to COX-2 inhibition, oroxylin A decreased PGE(2) levels in HT-29 cells. The synergistic effect of 5-FU induced by oroxylin A was also found in the suppression of Bcl-2 and in the activation of P53, Bax, PARP, and procaspase-3 proteins in HT-29 cells. Ultimately, a combination of 5-FU with oroxylin A significantly reduced the growth of HT-29 tumors in nude mice compared with treatment with 5-FU or oroxylin A alone. In conclusion, a combination of 5-FU and oroxylin A has a significant synergistic effect in the inhibition of HT-29 cell proliferation in vitro and controls HT-29 tumor growth in vivo. This synergistic effect may be mainly related to COX-2 inhibition by oroxylin A in HT-29 cells.