Background: Dysplasia and malignant transformation of colonocytes in ulcerative colitis are associated with overexpression of c-Myc and genes regulating cell survival. 5-Aminosalicylates such as mesalazine may reduce the development of colorectal cancer in ulcerative colitis, but the mechanisms of its chemopreventive action are not clear.
Aims: To examine whether mesalazine affects the expression of c-Myc in human colon cancer cell lines.
Methods: Human colon cancer cells were treated with vehicle or mesalazine (4 mm or 40 mm). We examined: (i) mRNA expression by gene array, (ii) protein expression by Western blotting and immunohistochemistry and (iii) apoptosis by Annexin V labelling.
Results: Mesalazine significantly reduced expression of c-Myc mRNA and protein.
Conclusions: Mesalazine downregulates gene and protein expression of c-Myc. The apoptotic and growth inhibitory effects of mesalazine are dose-dependent. Expression of c-Myc is significantly reduced by mesalazine 40 mm.