Apigenin potentiates the antitumor activity of 5-FU on solid Ehrlich carcinoma: Crosstalk between apoptotic and JNK-mediated autophagic cell death platforms

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BackgroundAlthough 5- Fluorouracil (5-FU) has exhibited effectiveness against cancer, novel therapeutic strategies are needed to enhance its antitumor efficiency and modulate its cytotoxity. Apigenin, a flavonoid present in fruits and vegetables, is a potent dietary phytochemical effective in cancer chemoprevention.AimThis study was undertaken to investigate the potential synergistic antitumor activity of apigenin and 5-FU on Solid Ehrlich carcinoma (SEC).MethodsEighty Swiss albino male mice were divided into four equal groups: vehicle treated control SEC, SEC + 5-FU, SEC + apigenin, SEC+ 5-FU + apigenin. Beclin-1 and caspases 3, 9 and JNK activities were estimated by ELISA; mRNA expression levels of the antiapoptotic gene Mcl-1 were estimated using quantitative real-time RT-PCR, while tissue malondialdehyde (MDA), glutathione peroxidase and total antioxidant capacity were evaluated spectrophotometrically. A part of the tumor was examined for histopathological and Ki-67 immunohistochemistry analysis.Results5-FU and/or apigenin caused significant increase in tissue levels of Beclin-1, caspases 3, 9 and JNK activities, MDA with significant decrease in tumor volume, Mcl-1expression, tissue glutathione peroxidase and total antioxidant capacity and alleviated the histopathological changes with significant decrease of Ki-67 proliferation index compared to vehicle treated SEC control group.In conclusionThe combination of 5-FU and apigenin had a greater effect than each of 5-FU or apigenin alone against solid Ehrlich carcinoma in mice.HighlightsApigenin potentiated 5-FU cytotoxicity in EAC solid tumor models in vivo.It acted via autophagy stimulation, downregulating MCL-1 and Ki-67 expression.It caused JNK activation and ROS accumulation; resulted in tumor growth inhibition.Apigenin can be used as a co-adjuvant agent in cancer therapy.

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