Objectives: Among gynaecologic malignancies, ovarian cancer (OC) represents the leading cause of death for women worldwide. Current OC treatment involves cytoreductive surgery followed by platinum-based chemotherapy, which is associated with severe side effects and development of drug resistance. Therefore, new therapeutic strategies are urgently needed. Herein, we evaluated the anti-tumour effects of Vitamin E-derived δ-tocotrienol (δ-TT) in two human OC cell lines, IGROV-1 and SKOV-3 cells.
Materials and methods: MTT and Trypan blue exclusion assays were used to assess δ-TT cytotoxicity, alone or in combination with other molecules. δ-TT effects on cell cycle, apoptosis, ROS generation and MAPK phosphorylation were investigated by flow cytometry, Western blot and immunofluorescence analyses. The synergism between δ-TT and chemotherapy was evaluated by isobologram analysis.
Results: We demonstrated that δ-TT could induce cell cycle block at G1-S phase and mitochondrial apoptosis in OC cell lines. In particular, we found that the proapoptotic activity of δ-TT correlated with mitochondrial ROS production and subsequent JNK and p38 activation. Finally, we observed that the compound was able to synergize with cisplatin, not only enhancing its cytotoxicity in IGROV-1 and SKOV-3 cells but also re-sensitizing IGROV-1/Pt1 cell line to its anti-tumour effects.
Conclusions: δ-TT triggers G1 phase cell cycle arrest and ROS/MAPK-mediated apoptosis in OC cells and sensitizes them to platinum treatment, thus representing an interesting option for novel chemopreventive/therapeutic strategies for OC.