Morphine, a potential antagonist of cisplatin cytotoxicity, inhibits cisplatin-induced apoptosis and suppression of tumor growth in nasopharyngeal carcinoma xenografts.
Sci Rep. 2016 ;6:18706. Epub 2016 Jan 5. PMID: 26729257
Morphine is an opioid analgesic drug often used for pain relief in cancer patients. However, there is growing evidence that morphine may modulate tumor growth, progression and metastasis. In this study, we evaluated whether morphine modulates cisplatin-induced apoptosis in human nasopharyngeal carcinoma CNE-2 cells and whether morphine affects the antitumor activity of cisplatin on tumor growth in human nasopharyngeal carcinoma CNE-2 xenografts in nude mice. We showed that a pretreatment with morphine (1 μg/ml) inhibited the sensitivity of CNE-2 cells to cisplatin by inhibiting cisplatin-induced CNE-2 cell apoptosis, decreasing caspase-3 activity and increasing the Bcl-2/Bax ratio. However, a high dose of morphine (1000 μg/ml) had the opposite effect. We also showed that at a low dose, morphine enhances chemoresistance in an in vivo nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC) model by inhibiting cisplatin-induced apoptosis and decreasing neovascularization. Taken together, our results indicate that a low dose of morphine may lead to chemoresistance of cisplatin in NPC models in vitro and in vivo byinhibiting cisplatin-induced apoptosis and decreasing neovascularization.