alpha-Tocopherol attenuates the cytotoxic effect of delta-tocotrienol in human colorectal adenocarcinoma cells

Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2010 Jun 25;397(2):214-9. doi: 10.1016/j.bbrc.2010.05.087. Epub 2010 May 20.


Recent studies have demonstrated that tocotrienol (T3) is superior to tocopherol (Toc) for cancer chemoprevention. However, there is little information on whether Toc influences the anticancer property of T3. In this study, we investigated the influence of Toc on the cytotoxic effects of delta-T3 in DLD-1 human colorectal adenocarcinoma cells. Toc, especially alpha-Toc, attenuated delta-T3-induced cytotoxicity and apoptosis in DLD-1 cells, whereas Toc alone did not exhibit any cytotoxic effect. delta-T3-induced cell cycle arrest and proapoptotic gene/protein expression (e.g., p21, p27, and caspases) were abrogated by alpha-Toc. Furthermore, coadministration of alpha-Toc decreased delta-T3 uptake into DLD-1 cells in a dose-dependent manner. These results indicate that alpha-Toc is not only less cytotoxic to cancer cells, but it also reduces the cytotoxicity of delta-T3 by inhibiting its cellular uptake.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adenocarcinoma / metabolism*
  • Apoptosis / drug effects
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Vitamin E / analogs & derivatives*
  • Vitamin E / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Vitamin E / metabolism
  • Vitamin E / pharmacology
  • alpha-Tocopherol / pharmacology*


  • Vitamin E
  • tocotrienol, delta
  • alpha-Tocopherol