Background: Shark liver oil, with a standardized concentration of alkylglycerols and their methoxyderivates, has been widely used in Scandinavian countries as complementary medicine in the treatment of different forms of cancer. The aim of our study was to verify the hypothesized antiproliferative effect of alkylglycerols in different human cancer cell lines.
Material/methods: The plating efficiency method was used to assay the effect of alkylglycerols on the plating efficiency of human ovarian carcinoma (OVP-10), mammary carcinoma (MCF-7), and prostate cancer (DU-145, PC-3 and PCa-2b) cell lines. Tumor colonies containing more than 20 cells were scored as positive. Flow cytometry was applied to identify necrotic vs. apoptotic mode of cell death. The cells were exposed to Ecomer shark liver oil containing 20% alkylglycerols and 3% methoxyderivates in a dose of 0.1 mg/ml, up to a concentration corresponding to LD-50. Apoptotic and necrotic cells were stained with Anexin V and propidium iodine respectively.
Results: The prostate cells from DU-145, PC-3 and PCa-2B showed a dramatic reduction in the colony number even after relatively small doses of 0.5 and 0.1 mg/ml medium. Flow cytomery showed an increased percentage of apoptotic cells of ovarian and prostate carcinoma, while mammary carcinoma cells showed predominantly necrotic cells after exposure to Ecomer.
Conclusions: The alkylglycerols and their methoxyderivates present in Ecomer shark liver oil showed a clear apoptotic/necrotic effect on human prostate and mammary carcinoma cell lines.