Comparison of oxycodone and morphine on the proliferation, apoptosis and expression of related molecules in the A549 human lung adenocarcinoma cell line

Exp Ther Med. 2016 Aug;12(2):559-566. doi: 10.3892/etm.2016.3346. Epub 2016 May 17.


The present study aimed to compare the effects of oxycodone and morphine hydrochloride on the proliferation, apoptosis and migration of A549 lung cancer cells. A549 human lung cancer cells were cultured in vitro and treated with oxycodone or morphine at various concentrations (10, 20 and 40 µg/ml). Cell migration was determined using a wound healing assay, whereas apoptosis was detected using flow cytometry. Reverse transcription quantitative-polymerase chain reaction was performed in order to assess the apoptosis-related gene expression levels, including p53, B-cell lymphoma (Bcl)-2 and Bcl-2-associated X protein (Bax). The levels of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) and urokinase-type plasminogen activator (uPA) were detected using enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays. The expression levels of intercellular cell adhesion molecule (ICAM)-1 were determined by immunofluorescence. In the present study, oxycodone and morphine induced apoptosis in A549 lung cancer cells with similar potency; however, >20 µg/ml oxycodone was more effective at inhibiting cell proliferation (P<0.05) and migration (P<0.05), as compared with morphine at the same concentration. Oxycodone induced a dose-dependent increase in the expression levels of p53 and Bax apoptosis-related genes, whereas it decreased the gene expression levels of Bcl-2. Furthermore, oxycodone decreased, whereas morphine increased, the expression levels of ICAM-1 in a concentration-dependent manner. In addition, at 40 µg/ml, the expression levels of VEGF and uPA in the morphine group were significantly higher than those demonstrated in the oxycodone group (P<0.05). In conclusion, oxycodone was more effective in inhibiting the proliferation and migration of A549 lung cancer cells, as compared with morphine.

Keywords: lung adenocarcinoma cells; metastasis; morphine; oxycodone.