Ecdysteroids sensitize MDR and non-MDR cancer cell lines to doxorubicin, paclitaxel, and vincristine but tend to protect them from cisplatin

Ana Martins, Péter Sipos, Katalin Dér, József Csábi, Walter Miklos, Walter Berger, Attila Zalatnai, Leonard Amaral, Joseph Molnár, Piroska Szabó-Révész, Attila Hunyadi

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Ecdysteroids, analogs of the insect molting hormone, are known for their various mild, nonhormonal bioactivities in mammals. Previously, we reported that less-polar ecdysteroids can modulate the doxorubicin resistance of a multidrug resistant (MDR) mouse lymphoma cell line expressing the human ABCB1 transporter. Here, we describe the ability of 20-hydroxyecdysone (1) and its mono- (2) and diacetonide (3) derivatives to sensitize various MDR and non-MDR cancer cell lines towards doxorubicin, paclitaxel, vincristine, or cisplatin. Drug IC50 values with or without ecdysteroid were determined by MTT assay. Compound 3 significantly sensitized all cell lines to each chemotherapeutic except for cisplatin, whose activity was decreased. In order to overcome solubility and stability issues for the future in vivo administration of compound 3, liposomal formulations were developed. By means of their combination index values obtained via checkerboard microplate method, a formulation showed superior activity to that of compound 3 alone. Because ecdysteroids act also on non-ABCB1 expressing (sensitive) cell lines, our results demonstrate that they do not or not exclusively exert their adjuvant anticancer activity as ABCB1 inhibitors, but other mechanisms must be involved, and they opened the way towards their in vivo bioactivity testing against various cancer xenografts.

Original languageEnglish
Article number895360
JournalBioMed research international
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 2015


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Immunology and Microbiology(all)

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