Aim: To investigate the inhibitive effects of triptolide (TPL) combined with 5-fluorouracil (5-FU) on colon carcinoma HT-29 cells in vitro and in vivo and their side effects.
Methods: HT-29 cells were cultured with RPMI 1640 medium. The single or combined effects of TPL and 5-FU on HT-29 cells were examined by MTT assay, flow cytometry. The combined effects were evaluated by the median-effect principle. The model of tumour xenografts was established in nude mice. TPL 0.25 mg/kg/day and 5-FU 12 mg/kg/day, either in combination or on their own, were injected into mice and the inhibitive effects and side effects were observed.
Results: TPL and 5-FU either combined or alone inhibited significantly the proliferation of HT-29 cells and induced obvious apoptosis. Mean (SD) growth inhibition rate reached 94.92 (2.76)% and the apoptic rate at 48 h reached 41.71 (1.38)%. The combined effects were synergistic (CI<1) at lower concentrations. TPL or 5-FU alone inhibited significantly the growth of tumour xenografts and the inhibition rates were 78.53% and 84.16%; the drugs combined had more significant effect, the tumour inhibition rate reaching 96.78%. During the course of chemotherapy, no obvious side effect was observed.
Conclusion: The combined effects of TPL and 5-FU on the growth of colon carcinoma in vitro and in vivo were superior to the effects when the agents were used individually. TPL combined with 5-FU had synergistic effects at lower concentrations and promoted apoptosis, but did not increase the side effects of chemotherapy.
- ALT, alanine aminotransferase
- AST, aspartate aminotransferase
- BUN, blood urea nitrogen
- CI, confidence interval
- Cr, creatinine
- DMSO, dimethyl sulfoxide
- 5-FU, 5-fluorouracil
- TPL, triptolide
- TWHF, Tripterygium wilfordii Hook F
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Competing interests: none declared