High-dose ascorbic acid induces carcinostatic effects through hydrogen peroxide and superoxide anion radical generation-induced cell death and growth arrest in human tongue carcinoma cells.
Free Radic Res. 2017 Jul-Aug;51(7-8):684-692. Epub 2017 Aug 14. PMID: 28750563
High-dose ascorbic acid (AsA) treatment, known as pharmacological AsA, has been shown to exert carcinostatic effects in many types of cancer cells and in vivo tumour models. Although pharmacological AsA has potential as a complementary and alternative medicine for anticancer treatment, its effects on human tongue carcinoma have not yet been elucidated. In this study, we investigated the effect of AsA treatment on human tongue carcinoma HSC-4 cells compared with non-tumourigenic tongue epithelial dysplastic oral keratinocyte (DOK) cells. Our results show that treatment with 1 and 3 mM of AsA for 60 min preferentially inhibits the growth of human tongue carcinoma HSC-4 over DOK cells. Furthermore, AsA-induced effects were accompanied by increased intracellular oxidative stress and were repressed by treatment with a hydrogen peroxide (HO) scavenger catalase and a superoxide anion radical (O) scavenger, tempol. Time-lapse observation and thymidine analog EdU incorporation revealed that AsA treatment induces not only cell death but also suppression of DNA synthesis and cell growth. Moreover, the growth arrest was accompanied by abnormal cellular morphologies whereby cells extended dendrite-like pseudopodia. Taken together, our results demonstrate that AsA treatment can induce carcinostatic effects through induction of cell death, growth arrest, and morphological changes mediated by HOand Ogeneration. These findings suggest that high-dose AsA treatment represents an effective treatment for tongue cancer as well as for other types of cancer cells.