Background: Dipyrithione (PTS2) is widely used as a bactericide and fungicide. Here, we investigated whether PTS2 has broad-spectrum antitumor activity by studying its cytotoxicity and proapoptotic effects in four cancer cell lines.
Methods: We used MTT assays and trypan blue staining to test the viability of cancer cell lines. Hoechst 33258 and DAPI staining were used to observe cell apoptosis. Cell-cycle percentages were analyzed by flow cytometry. Apoptosis was assayed using caspase-3 and poly (ADP-ribose) polymerase (PARP) combined with Western blotting. Student's t-test was used for statistical analysis.
Results: PTS2 inhibited proliferation in four cancer cell lines in a dose-dependent manner. Treated cells showed shrinkage, irregular fragments, condensed and dispersed blue fluorescent particles compared with control cells. PTS2 induced cycle-arrest and death. Cleavage of caspase-9, caspase-3, and PARP were detected in PTS2-treated cells. Antitumor activity of PTS2 was more effective against widely used cancer drugs and its precursor.
Conclusions: PTS2 appears to have novel cytotoxicity and potent broad-spectrum antitumor activity, which suggests its potential as the basis of an anticancer drug.