Antimetastatic potential of N-acetylcysteine on human prostate cancer cells

J Med Assoc Thai. 2012 Dec;95 Suppl 12:S56-62.


Objective: N-acetylcysteine (NAC), is one of the cheapest, safest and widely used over-the-counter-drugs in Thailand. Here the authors examine the antimetastatic potential of NAC on the metastasis of human prostate cancer cells.

Material and method: Cytotoxicity of NAC to human prostate cancer cells, DU145 and PC3, were determined by proliferation assay using the 3-(4, 5-dimethylthiazol, 2-yl)-2, 5-diphenyltetrazolium bromide (MTT) reagent. Cell migration and invasion were assessed by using a chemotaxis chamber containing membrane pre-coated with collagen IV and Matrigel, respectively. Cell attachment onto the surface of the membrane coated with collagen IV was tested for its adhesion potentiality.

Results: NAC could inhibit the growth of DU145 and PC3 cells. Suppression of migration and invasion of both human prostrate cancer cells were observed. Cell attachment to the collagen IV-coated surface was obviously reduced. All inhibitions occurred in a dose-dependent fashion in both cell lines.

Conclusion: NAC could have a high potential in attenuating the migration of the human prostate cancer cells from their primary site and their adhesion and invasion to the remote locations. Hence, NAC might suppress the growth of the primary and the secondary tumors. Our findings suggest that NAC had a high possibility to become an antimetastatic agent for testing in clinical trials. Then, NAC might be used clinically as an optional adjuvant therapeutic drug in addition to the conventional standard treatment of human prostate cancer, obtaining a better outcome with the least toxic and affordable substance.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acetylcysteine / pharmacology*
  • Adenocarcinoma / drug therapy*
  • Cell Adhesion / drug effects
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Cell Movement / drug effects
  • Cell Proliferation / drug effects
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Free Radical Scavengers / pharmacology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Neoplasm Invasiveness
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / drug therapy*


  • Free Radical Scavengers
  • Acetylcysteine