Objectives: The present investigation aimed at examining if post-cancer treatment with a potentized homeopathic drug, Condurango 30C, which is generally used to treat oesophageal cancer, could also show an ameliorating effect through apoptosis induction on lung cancer induced by benzo[a]pyrene (BaP) in white rats (Rattus norvegicus).
Methods: Lung cancer was induced after four months by chronic feeding of BaP to rats through gavage at a dose of 50 mg/kg body weight for one month. After four months, the lung-cancer-bearing rats were treated with Condurango 30C for the next one (5(th)), two (5(th)-6(th)) and three (5(th)-7(th)) months, respectively, and were sacrificed at the corresponding time- points. The ameliorating effect, if any, after Condurango 30C treatment for the various periods was evaluated by using protocols such as histology, scanning electron microscopy (SEM), annexinV-FITC/PI assay, flow cytometry of the apoptosis marker, DNA fragmentation, reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR), immunohistochemistry, and western blot analyses of lung tissue samples.
Results: Striking recovery of lung tissue to a near normal status was noticed after post-cancerous drug treatment, as evidenced by SEM and histology, especially after one and two months of drug treatment. Data from the annexinV-FITC/PI and DNA fragmentation assays revealed that Condurango 30C could induce apoptosis in cancer cells after post-cancer treatment. A critical analysis of signalling cascade, evidenced through a RT-PCR study, demonstrated up-regulation and down-regulation of different pro- and anti-apoptotic genes, respectively, related to a caspase-3-mediated apoptotic pathway, which was especially discernible after one-month and two- month drug treatments. Correspondingly, Western blot and immunohistochemistry studies confirmed the ameliorative potential of Condurango 30C by its ability to down-regulate the elevated epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) expression, a hallmark of lung cancer.
Conclusion: The overall result validated a positive effect of Condurango 30C in ameliorating lung cancer through caspase-3-mediated apoptosis induction and EGFR down-regulation.
Keywords: Condurango 30C; apoptosis; benzo[a]pyrene (BaP); caspase-3; homeopathy; lung cancer.