The Vitamin E Derivative Gamma Tocotrienol Promotes Anti-Tumor Effects in Acute Myeloid Leukemia Cell Lines

Nutrients. 2019 Nov 17;11(11):2808. doi: 10.3390/nu11112808.


Acute myeloid leukemia (AML) is a blood cancer characterized by the formation of faulty defective myelogenous cells with morphological heterogeneity and cytogenic aberrations leading to a loss of their function. In an attempt to find an effective and safe AML treatment, vitamin E derivatives, including tocopherols were considered as potential anti-tumor compounds. Recently, other isoforms of vitamin E, namely tocotrienols have been proposed as potential potent anti-cancerous agents, displaying promising therapeutic effects in different cancer types. In this study we evaluated the anti-cancerous effects of γ-tocotrienol, on AML cell lines in vitro. For this purpose, AML cell lines incubated with γ-tocotrienol were examined for their viability, cell cycle status, apoptotic cell death, DNA fragmentation, production of reactive oxygen species and expression of proapoptotic proteins. Our results showed that γ-tocotrienol exhibits time and dose-dependent anti-proliferative, pro-apoptotic and antioxidant effects on U937 and KG-1 cell lines, through the upregulation of proteins involved in the intrinsic apoptotic pathway.

Keywords: apoptosis; gamma tocotrienols; leukemia; vitamin E.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antineoplastic Agents / pharmacology*
  • Apoptosis / drug effects
  • Apoptosis Regulatory Proteins / drug effects
  • Cell Culture Techniques
  • Cell Cycle / drug effects
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Cell Survival / drug effects
  • Chromans / pharmacology*
  • DNA Fragmentation / drug effects
  • Humans
  • Leukemia, Myeloid, Acute / drug therapy*
  • Male
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar
  • Reactive Oxygen Species / metabolism
  • Vitamin E / analogs & derivatives*
  • Vitamin E / pharmacology


  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Apoptosis Regulatory Proteins
  • Chromans
  • Reactive Oxygen Species
  • Vitamin E
  • plastochromanol 8