Phenethyl isothiocyanate (PEITC) from cruciferous vegetables can inhibit the growth of various human cancer cells. In previous studies, we determined that PEITC inhibited the in vitro growth of human glioblastoma GBM 8401 cells by inducing apoptosis, inhibiting migration and invasion, and altering gene expression. Nevertheless, there are no further in vivo reports disclosing whether PEITC can suppress the growth of glioblastoma. Therefore, in this study we investigate the anti-tumor effects of PEITC in a xenograft model of glioblastoma in nude mice. Thirty nude mice were inoculated subcutaneously with GBM 8401 cells. Mice with one palpable tumor were divided randomly into three groups: control, PEITC-10, and PEITC-20 groups treated with 0.1% dimethyl sulfoxide (DMSO), and 10 and 20 μmole PEITC/100 μL PBS daily by oral gavage, respectively. PEITC significantly decreased tumor weights and volumes of GBM 8401 cells in mice, but did not affect the total body weights of mice. PEITC diminished the levels of anti-apoptotic proteins MCL-1 (myeloid cell leukemia 1) and XIAP (X-linked inhibitor of apoptosis protein) in GBM 8401 cells. PEITC enhanced the levels of caspase-3 and Bax in GBM 8401 cells. The growth of glioblastoma can be suppressed by the biological properties of PEITC in vivo. These effects might support further investigations into the potential use of PEITC as an anticancer drug for glioblastoma.
Keywords: apoptosis; caspase; glioblastoma; phenethyl isothiocyanate; xenograft.