Journal of Applied Phycology

, Volume 28, Issue 6, pp 3371–3377 | Cite as

Selenium-enriched Arthrospira platensis potentiates docetaxel, oxaliplatin, and topotecan anticancer activity in epithelial tumors

  • Catherine RivaEmail author
  • Henri Oreal


Docetaxel (DOC), oxaliplatin (OXA), and topotecan (TOPO) are effective chemotherapy agents in human cancers, but their clinical use is limited by severe side effects. Arthrospira platensis, a cyanobacterium that is widely used as a nutritional supplement, can accumulate in a dose- and time-dependent manner high amounts of selenium (Se), a trace element with potential anticancer effects. In this study, we (1) tested the in vitro effects of A. platensis enriched with Se alone or combined with DOC, OXA, or TOPO (IC50 concentrations) on cell proliferation, in situ apoptosis, and reactive oxygen species (ROS) production in human epithelial colorectal adenocarcinoma (Caco-2) and prostate cancer (DU145) cell lines and (2) assessed the in vivo effect on tumor growth in mice xenografted with renal carcinoma cells (RCC 786-0). Neither Se nor Se-enriched A. platensis affected the viability significantly. Incubation of Caco-2 or DU145 cells with Se + DOC, Se + OXA, or Se + TOPO-enriched A. platensis increased significantly the cytotoxicity of each drug by 85–99 % (compared with cells treated with anticancer drug alone) through promotion of caspase-3-mediated apoptosis and reduction of ROS production. In vivo, treatment with Se + TOPO-enriched A. platensis for 4 weeks significantly reduced tumor growth compared with placebo or Se-enriched A. platensis alone (p < 0.05). The Se + antimitotic drug-enriched A. platensis formulation using Se-enriched A. platensis as a vector for anticancer drug delivery could represent a new strategy for the development of effective and less toxic treatments against cancer.


Arthrospira platensis Spirulina Selenium Anticancer agent Epithelial tumor 



The authors wish to thank Dr. Y. Rustum from the Cancer Biology Department, Roswell Park Memorial Institute, Elm and Carlton Street, Buffalo, for his help with the in vivo experiments and Dr. E. Andermarcher for correcting the English.

Compliance with ethical standards

The Institutional Animal Experimentation Ethics Committee approved this study.

Authors’ contributions

C.R. and H.O. contributed equally to the research concept and design. H.O. reviewed the manuscript and C.R. researched the data, wrote and edited the manuscript, and is the guarantor of this work and, as such, had full access to all data in the study and takes responsibility for the data integrity and the accuracy of the data analysis.


The authors are co-inventors of the French patent # FR1257009.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.LaPEC EA4278Avignon UniversityAvignonFrance
  2. 2.Vita ApiLa Seyne-sur-MerFrance

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