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Open Access Research article

Comparison of cytotoxicity and genotoxicity of 4-hydroxytamoxifen in combination with Tualang honey in MCF-7 and MCF-10A cells

Nik Soriani Yaacob* and Nur Faezah Ismail

Author Affiliations

Department of Chemical Pathology, School of Medical Sciences, Universiti Sains Malaysia, Health Campus, 16150 Kubang Kerian, Kelantan, Malaysia

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BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine 2014, 14:106  doi:10.1186/1472-6882-14-106

Published: 19 March 2014

Abstract

Background

The Malaysian Tualang honey (TH) is not only cytotoxic to human breast cancer cell lines but it has recently been reported to promote the anticancer activity induced by tamoxifen in MCF-7 and MDA-MB-231 cells suggesting its potential as an adjuvant for the chemotherapeutic agent. However, tamoxifen produces adverse effects that could be due to its ability to induce cellular DNA damage. Therefore, the study is undertaken to determine the possible modulation of the activity of 4-hydroxytamoxifen (OHT), an active metabolite of tamoxifen, by TH in non-cancerous epithelial cell line, MCF-10A, in comparison with MCF-7 cells.

Methods

MCF-7 and MCF-10A cells were treated with TH, OHT or the combination of both and cytotoxicity and antiproliferative activity were determined using LDH and MTT assays, respectively. The effect on cellular DNA integrity was analysed by comet assay and the expression of DNA repair enzymes was determined by Western blotting.

Results

OHT exposure was cytotoxic to both cell lines whereas TH was cytotoxic to MCF-7 cells only. TH also significantly decreased the cytotoxic effect of OHT in MCF-10A but not in MCF-7 cells. TH induced proliferation of MCF10A cells but OHT caused growth inhibition that was abrogated by the concomitant treatment with TH. While TH enhanced the OHT-induced DNA damage in the cancer cells, it dampened the genotoxic effect of OHT in the non-cancerous cells. This was supported by the increased expression of DNA repair proteins, Ku70 and Ku80, in MCF-10A cells by TH.

Conclusion

The findings indicate that TH could afford protection of non-cancerous cells from the toxic effects of tamoxifen by increasing the efficiency of DNA repair mechanism in these cells.

Keywords:
Tualang honey; Tamoxifen; MCF-10A; MCF-7; Cytotoxicity; DNA damage; DNA repair enzymes