Iron removal enhances vitamin C-induced apoptosis and growth inhibition of K-562 leukemic cells.
Sci Rep. 2018 Nov 26 ;8(1):17377. Epub 2018 Nov 26. PMID: 30478296
Although vitamin C (VC) has recently garnered interest as an alternative cancer therapy, its clinical effects remain controversial. It was recently reported using in vitro prostate cancer cell lines that excess extracellular iron (EEI) diminishes anti-cancer effects of VC, promoting the decomposition of hydrogen peroxide (HO) generated by VC. Here we demonstrated that EEI diminished the inhibitory effect of VC on the survival of K562 human leukemic cells in vitro, by reducing the amount of HOand abrogating the apoptosis pathways induced by VC. In vivo, in the presence of EEI, the growth inhibitory effect of VC on K562 cells was completely abrogated; in fact, VC enhanced K562 cell growth. Reduction of EEI restored the apoptosis-inducing effect of VC in vitro and enhanced the growth inhibitory effect of VC in vivo. Further studies are warranted to investigate whether the combination of VC and iron depletion has similar effects in various other leukemic or cancer cells against which VC has been effective in previous experimental studies.