Tumor Biology

, Volume 35, Issue 9, pp 8699–8705 | Cite as

Melittin radiosensitizes esophageal squamous cell carcinoma with induction of apoptosis in vitro and in vivo

  • Hongcheng Zhu
  • Xi Yang
  • Jia Liu
  • Yangyang Ge
  • Qin Qin
  • Jing Lu
  • Liangliang Zhan
  • Zheming Liu
  • Hao Zhang
  • Xiaochen Chen
  • Chi Zhang
  • Liping Xu
  • Hongyan Cheng
  • Xinchen Sun
Research Article

Abstract

Currently, unresectable esophageal squamous cell carcinoma (ESCC) is primarily treated by chemoradiotherapy. However, the outcome has not improved significantly because of radioresistance of cancer cells. This study aimed to determine the radiosensitizing effect of melittin, a novel component of bee venom, in ESCC. ESCC cell lines were irradiated with or without melittin. Cell proliferation was detected by Cell Counting Kit 8 assay. Radiosensitization was evaluated by clonogenic survival assay. Cell apoptosis was detected by flow cytometry. Results show that melittin potently sensitized ESCC cells to radiation with a sensitization enhancement ratio of 1.15–1.42. Radiosensitization was accompanied with enhanced apoptosis and regulated by apoptosis proteins. The results were confirmed by in vivo studies on tumor-bearing xenografts. In summary, these results provide support that melittin may be a potentially promising radiosensitizer in ESCC radiation therapy.

Keywords

Melittin Esophageal squamous cell carcinoma Radiosensitivity Apoptosis 

Notes

Acknowledgments

This work was supported by the Natural Science Foundation of China (no. 81272504), Research and Innovation Project for College Graduates of Jiangsu Province (no. CXZZ12_0588), Innovation Team (no. LJ201123 (EH11)), A Project Funded by the Priority Academic Program Development of Jiangsu Higher Education Institutions (PAPD; JX10231801), grants from Key Academic Discipline of Jiangsu Province “Medical Aspects of Specific Environments,” Six Major Talent Peak Project of Jiangsu Province (2013-WSN-040), Jiangsu Provincial Science and Technology Projects (BK2011854 (DA11)), and “333” Project of Jiangsu Province (BRA2012210 (RS12)).

Conflicts of interest

None

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Copyright information

© International Society of Oncology and BioMarkers (ISOBM) 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Hongcheng Zhu
    • 1
  • Xi Yang
    • 1
  • Jia Liu
    • 1
  • Yangyang Ge
    • 2
  • Qin Qin
    • 1
  • Jing Lu
    • 1
  • Liangliang Zhan
    • 1
  • Zheming Liu
    • 1
  • Hao Zhang
    • 1
  • Xiaochen Chen
    • 1
  • Chi Zhang
    • 1
  • Liping Xu
    • 1
  • Hongyan Cheng
    • 3
  • Xinchen Sun
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Radiation OncologyThe First Affiliated Hospital of Nanjing Medical UniversityNanjingChina
  2. 2.Department of Radiation OncologyNantong Tumor HospitalNantongChina
  3. 3.Department of General Internal MedicineThe First Affiliated Hospital of Nanjing Medical UniversityNanjingChina

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