Background: Gastric cancer is one of the most common cancers in Asia. Chemotherapy and radiation therapy have had limited success. Recently, paclitaxel has been found to be effective against a variety of cancers, including lung, breast, ovary, melanoma, and prostate. Whether paclitaxel is effective in the treatment of gastric cancer is not known and is worthy of investigation.
Methods: Human gastric carcinoma cell lines NUGC-3 and SC-M1 were examined for response to paclitaxel treatment. Cancer cells were treated with paclitaxel (0.001, 0.01, 0.1, and 1 microM) for 1-3 days. Cell number was counted by hemocytometer and cell viability was determined by the trypan blue exclusion method. Cell cycle progression and expression of proliferating cell nuclear antigen (PCNA) were examined by flow cytometry. The percentage of apoptotic cells was determined after staining with hematoxylin and eosin.
Results: Paclitaxel was cytotoxic to the two human gastric carcinoma cell lines examined. The growth-inhibiting dose was 0.01 microM. Paclitaxel-treated gastric carcinoma cells were arrested mainly in G2/M phases before apoptosis. However, treatment with 0.01 microM of paclitaxel resulted in a decrease of cells at G0/G1 phases without an increase of cells at G2/M phase indicating that paclitaxel was also cytotoxic to gastric carcinoma cells at G0/G1 phases. In addition, the expression of PCNA was significantly increased in 0.1 and 1 microM paclitaxel-treated cells, suggesting that DNA repair was increased in these cells.
Conclusions: Paclitaxel is effective in growth inhibition of gastric carcinoma cell lines in clinically attainable concentrations. Our results suggest that paclitaxel is a potential chemotherapeutic drug for gastric carcinoma.