A Preliminary Study in Search of Potential Peptide Candidates for a Combinational Therapy with Cancer Chemotherapy Drug

  • Hussin A. RothanEmail author
  • Jamunaa Ambikabothy
  • Thamil Selvee Ramasamy
  • Nurshamimi Nor Rashid
  • Rohana Yusof


Cancer which caused by the growth and spreading of abnormal cells in an uncontrolled manner remains a major cause of death affecting millions of people. The current cancer chemotherapy treatment modalities have several disadvantages, mostly related to their undesirable side effects. In this study, we explore the potencies of selected cell penetrating antimicrobial peptides in combination with the widely used chemotherapy drug, Doxorubicin (DOX), to increase the specificity of anticancer chemotherapy. Screening the potential peptide candidates to be developed into chemotherapy drug combination led to identification of two most potent peptides, Tachyplesin 1 (TCH) and Latarcin 1 (LTC). Cell viability of normal liver cells was reduced to 50% by 20 µM of TCH or LTC, while liver cancer cell lines lost 50% of their viability at approximately 4 µM of these peptides. The combination of DOX with TCH peptide showed the higher levels of lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) leakage from cancer cells (80%) compared to normal cells (30%). The combinational treatment DOX-peptide showed significant (P < 0.01) increase in caspase 3/7 activity compared to DOX alone. Pre-treatment of the cells with TCH peptides prior to DOX treatment considerably increased the Caspase 3/7 activities in both cell types with significant increase (P < 0.05) in cancer cells compared to normal cells. Our study demonstrate that TCH peptide is a potential anticancer peptide that could be used in combinational therapy with cancer chemotherapy drugs.


Tachyplesin 1 Latarcin 1 Doxorubicin Anticancer chemotherapy Drug delivery 



This project was funded by the Ministry of Higher Education Malaysia (ERGS grant ER016-2013A) and Postgraduate Fund of University of Malaya (PG081-2014A).

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

The authors have declared that they have no conflict of interests.

Research Involving Human and Animal Rights

This article does not contain any studies with human participants or animals performed by any of the authors.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Hussin A. Rothan
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Jamunaa Ambikabothy
    • 1
  • Thamil Selvee Ramasamy
    • 1
  • Nurshamimi Nor Rashid
    • 1
  • Rohana Yusof
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Molecular Medicine, Faculty of MedicineUniversity of MalayaKuala LumpurMalaysia
  2. 2.Human Biology Division, School of MedicineInternational Medical UniversityKuala LumpurMalaysia

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