Methylsulfonylmethane Induces Cell Cycle Arrest and Apoptosis, and Suppresses the Stemness Potential of HT-29 Cells

Anticancer Res. 2020 Sep;40(9):5191-5200. doi: 10.21873/anticanres.14522.


Background/aim: Colorectal cancer is one of the most common malignancies worldwide. Small molecule-based chemotherapy is an attractive approach for the chemoprevention and treatment of colorectal cancer. Methylsulfonylmethane (MSM) is a natural organosulfur compound with anticancer properties, as revealed by studies on in vitro models of gingival, prostate, lung, hepatic, and breast cancer. However, the molecular mechanisms underlying the effects of MSM in colon cancer cells remain unclear.

Materials and methods: Here, we investigated the effects of MSM, especially on the cell cycle arrest and apoptosis, in HT-29 cells.

Results: MSM suppressed the viability of HT-29 cells by inducing apoptosis and cell cycle arrest at the G0/G1 phase. MSM suppressed the sphere-forming ability and expression of stemness markers in HT-29 cells.

Conclusion: MSM has anti-cancer effects on HT-29 cells, and induces cell cycle arrest and apoptosis, while suppressing the stemness potential.

Keywords: HT-29 cells; Methylsulfonylmethane; apoptosis; cell cycle arrest; stemness.

MeSH terms

  • Apoptosis / drug effects*
  • Cell Cycle Checkpoints / drug effects*
  • Cell Self Renewal / drug effects*
  • Cell Survival / drug effects
  • Dimethyl Sulfoxide / pharmacology*
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • HT29 Cells
  • Humans
  • Mitochondria / drug effects
  • Mitochondria / metabolism
  • Neoplastic Stem Cells / drug effects*
  • Neoplastic Stem Cells / metabolism*
  • Spheroids, Cellular
  • Sulfones / pharmacology*
  • Tumor Cells, Cultured


  • Sulfones
  • dimethyl sulfone
  • Dimethyl Sulfoxide