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In vitro and in vivo superior radiosensitizing effect of berbamine for head and neck squamous cell carcinoma

Authors Zhu H, Ruan S, Jia F, Chu J, Zhu Y, Huang Y, Liu G

Received 15 April 2018

Accepted for publication 20 July 2018

Published 14 November 2018 Volume 2018:11 Pages 8117—8125


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Dr Samir Farghaly

Hongmei Zhu,1,* Shu Ruan,2,* Feng Jia,3,* Jiusheng Chu,1 Yong Zhu,1 Yongjiu Huang,1 Guan Liu4

1Department of Otolaryngology, Jiangsu Taizhou People’s Hospital, Taizhou 225300, Jiangsu Province, China; 2Department of Endocrinology, Yancheng Third Hospital, The Affiliated Hospital of Southeast University Medical College, Yancheng 224001, Jiangsu Province, China; 3Department of Neurosurgery, Yancheng City No 1 People’s Hospital, The Fourth Affiliated Hospital of Nantong Medical College, Yancheng 224005, Jiangsu Province, China; 4Department of Radiation Oncology, Zhejiang Cancer Hospital, Hangzhou 310022, Zhejiang Province, China

*These authors contributed equally to this work

Berbamine (BBM), one of the bis-benzylisoquinoline products isolated from Berberis amurensis, has been demonstrated for its anticancer effect against leukemia, breast cancer, liver cancer, etc. There are some studies focusing on the chemosensitization effect of BBM. However, there is no report about whether BBM could enhance the anticancer effect of radiation, which made us to explore the possible radiosensitization effect of BBM.
Materials and methods: Here, in vitro cytotoxicity of BBM was evaluated on two kinds of head and neck squamous cancer cell lines. Clonogenic assay was performed to study the radiosensitization effect of BBM. Western blot was utilized to elucidate the possible mechanism underlying the radiosensitization effect.
Results: BBM effectively inhibited the growth of two kinds of cancer cells in a time- and dose-dependent manner. Radiation plus BBM led to significantly more reduction of the colony-forming ability of cancer cells when compared with radiation alone. BBM plus radiation led to the most reduction of STAT3 phosphorylation, followed by the significant decrease of the ratio of Bax/Bcl-2. In vivo study demonstrated that the combinational administration of BBM and radiation generated the most significant tumor-delaying effect among all of the treatment regimens.
Conclusion: We reported, in the current study, the potential role of BBM in not only treating cancer by itself but also offering a promising way to improve the efficacy of radiotherapy by inhibiting the activation of STAT3 and subsequently inducing the apoptosis of cancer.

Keywords: berbamine, radiation, HNSCC, sensitization 

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