Methylsulfonylmethane suppresses hepatic tumor development through activation of apoptosis

World J Hepatol. 2014 Feb 27;6(2):98-106. doi: 10.4254/wjh.v6.i2.98.


Aim: To investigate the effect of methylsulfonylmethane (MSM), recently reported to have anti-cancer effects, in liver cancer cells and transgenic mice.

Methods: Three liver cancer cell lines, HepG2, Huh7-Mock and Huh7-H-ras (G12V), were used. Cell growth was measured by Cell Counting Kit-8 and soft agar assay. Western blot analysis was used to detect caspases, poly (ADP-ribose) polymerase (PARP), and B-cell lymphoma 2 (Bcl-2) expressions. For in vivo study, we administered MSM to H-ras (12V) transgenic mice for 3 mo.

Results: MSM decreased the growth of HepG2, Huh7-Mock and Huh7-H-ras (G12V) cells in a dose-dependent manner. That was correlated with significantly increased apoptosis and reduced cell numbers in MSM treated cells. Cleaved caspase-8, cleaved caspase-3 and cleaved PARP were remarkably increased in the liver cancer cells treated with 500 mmol/L of MSM; however, Bcl-2 was slightly decreased in 500 mmol/L. Liver tumor development was greatly inhibited in the H-ras (12V) transgenic mice treated with MSM, compared to control, by showing reduced tumor size and number. Cleaved PARP was significantly increased in non-tumor treated with MSM compared to control.

Conclusion: Liver injury was also significantly attenuated in the mice treated with MSM. Taken together, all the results suggest that MSM has anti-cancer effects through inducing apoptosis in liver cancer.

Keywords: Anti-cancer effects; Hepatic tumorigenesis; Liver cancer cells; Methylsulfonylmethane; Transgenic mice.