Garlic compounds selectively kill childhood pre-B acute lymphoblastic leukemia cells in vitro without reducing T-cell function: Potential therapeutic use in the treatment of ALL.
Biologics. 2008 Mar;2(1):143-9. PMID: 19707437
Drugs used for remission induction therapy for childhood precursor-B acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) are nonselective for malignant cells. Several garlic compounds have been shown to induce apoptosis of cancer cells and to alter lymphocyte function. To investigate the effect of garlic on the apoptosis of ALL cells and lymphocyte immune function, cells from newly diagnosed childhood ALL patients were cultured with several commonly used chemotherapeutic agents and several garlic compounds. Apoptosis, lymphocyte proliferation and T-cell cytokine production were determined using multiparameter flow cytometry. At concentrations of garlic compounds that did not result in significant increases in Annexin V and 7-AAD staining of normal lymphocytes, there was a significant increase in apoptosis of ALL cells with no alteration of T-cell proliferation as determined by CD25/CD69 upregulation or interferongamma, interleukin-2 or tumor necrosis factor-alpha intracellular cytokine production. In contrast, the presence of chemotherapeutic agents resulted in nonselective increases in both lymphocyte and ALL apoptosis and a decrease in T-cell proliferation and cytokine production. In conclusion, we show selective apoptosis of malignant cells by garlic compounds that do not alter T-cell immune function and indicate the potential therapeutic benefit of garlic compounds in the treatment of childhood ALL.