An apple oligogalactan enhances the growth inhibitory effect of 5-fluorouracil on colorectal cancer

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Treatment of colorectal cancer (CRC) remains a clinical challenge, since current therapies are associated with obvious side effects and high expenses. These limitations highlight an urgent need for developing novel and safe treatment strategies. It is suggested that combinatorial strategies could be more effective and much safer than monotherapy in cancer treatment. In our previous study, an apple oligogalactan (AOG) has been found to show beneficial effect on treating CRC. This study tried to investigate whether AOG could enhance the growth inhibitory effect of 5-FU in human CRC cells (HT-29 and SW-620), a mouse model of colitis associated colorectal cancer and a murine model of xenograft tumor. The IC50 values of 5-FU were 26.70±0.21 μM in HT-29 cells and 26.71±2.06 μM in SW-620 cells. Pretreatment with 0.05 or 0.1 mM AOG down-regulated IC50 values of 5-FU to 22.44±1.01 or 18.67±1.16 μM in HT-29 and 21.21±1.49 or 17.99±1.42 μM in SW-620 cells. AOG enhanced 5-FU-induced cell apoptosis and S phase arrest. The combination not only protected ICR mice against intestinal toxicities and carcinogenesis induced by 1,2-dimethylhydrazine and dextran sodium sulfate, but also decreased the xenograft tumor size, triggered apoptosis and inhibited proliferation of tumor cells in nude mice. The mechanisms of AOG on enhancing the growth inhibitory effect of 5-FU may be through the influence of TLR-4/NF-κB pathway. Taken together, the combinatorial therapy using AOG and 5-FU is a promising strategy for the treatment of colorectal cancer.

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