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Synergic effects of artemisinin and resveratrol in cancer cells



The aim of this study was to investigate whether resveratrol (Res) combined with artemisinin (ART) possess synergistic effect on different cancer cells.

Materials and methods

The viability of HepG2 and HeLa cells treated with ART and Res was detected by 3-(4,5-dimethylthiazol-2-yl)-2,5-diphenyltetrazolium bromide (MTT) assay. Combination index (CI) analysis and isobologram were used to assess the synergistic effect of ART and Res in different ratios. Wound-healing assay was used to investigate the migration rate. AO staining and fluorescent microscopy measurements were performed to detect the cell apoptosis. Reactive oxygen species (ROS) was measured with 2′7′-dichlorofluorescein diacetate (DCFH-DA).


MTT assay indicated that ART and Res inhibited the growth of HeLa and HepG2 cells in a dose-dependent manner. The combination of ART and Res exhibited the strongest anticancer effect at the ratio of 1:2 (ART to Res). The combination of the two drugs also markedly reduced the ability of cell migration. Apoptosis analysis showed that combination of ART and Res significantly increased the apoptosis and necrosis rather than use singly. Additionally, ROS levels were elevated by combining ART with Res.


Taken together, the present study suggested that ART and Res possessed the synergistic anti-tumor effect. ART in combination with Res could be an effective therapeutic strategy for cancer.

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This study was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (81001454), the fundamental Research Funds for the Central Universities (XDJK2014B024), and the Fund for Construction of Scientific and Technical Innovation of Chongqing (CSTC, 2009CB1010).

Conflict of interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.

Author information

Correspondence to Xiaoyan Zhao.

Additional information

J. Zhang and X. Zhao contributed equally to this work.

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Li, P., Yang, S., Dou, M. et al. Synergic effects of artemisinin and resveratrol in cancer cells. J Cancer Res Clin Oncol 140, 2065–2075 (2014).

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  • Artemisinin
  • Resveratrol
  • Synergistic effect
  • Migration
  • Apoptosis
  • Reactive oxygen species