Exploring the effect of vitamin E in cancer chemotherapy-A biochemical and biophysical insight

J Biophotonics. 2018 Sep;11(9):e201800104. doi: 10.1002/jbio.201800104. Epub 2018 Jun 8.


Many oncologists contend that patient undergoing chemotherapy must avoid antioxidant supplementation as it may interfere with the activity of the drug. In the present investigation, we have explored the influence of vitamin E, a well-known antioxidant on Camptothecin (CPT), a potent anti-cancer drug induced cell apoptosis and death of cervical cancer cells. HeLa cells were treated with different concentrations of CPT in presence and absence of 100 μm vitamin E. Treated cells were subjected to cytotoxicity studies, catalase assay, DNA fragmentation assay, clonogenic assay and flow cytometry based apoptosis detection. Also, Raman spectroscopy a label free technique which provides global information, in conjunction with multivariate tools like PCA, PCLDA and FDA, was investigated to explore vitamin E supplementation induced alterations. Our data based on biochemical and biophysical experimental analysis reveals that CPT causes DNA damage along with protein and lipid alteration culminating in cell death. Importantly, Raman spectroscopic analysis could uniquely differentiate the cluster of control and vitamin E control from CPT and CPT + Vit E treated cells. We conclusively prove that presence of vitamin E at 100 μM concentration shows promising antioxidant activity and displays no modulatory role on CPT induced effect, thereby causing no possible hindrance with the efficacy of the drug. Vitamin E may prove beneficial to alleviate chemotherapy associated side effects in patients during clinical settings which may open the doors further for subsequent exploration in in vivo preclinical studies.

Keywords: CPT; HeLa cells; Raman spectroscopy; oxidative stress; vitamin E.

MeSH terms

  • Antineoplastic Agents / pharmacology*
  • Antioxidants / pharmacology*
  • Apoptosis / drug effects
  • Biophysical Phenomena / drug effects
  • Camptothecin / pharmacology*
  • DNA Fragmentation / drug effects
  • Drug Interactions
  • HeLa Cells
  • Humans
  • Spectrum Analysis, Raman
  • Vitamin E / pharmacology*


  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Antioxidants
  • Vitamin E
  • Camptothecin