Original Article

Shenmai injection enhances the cytotoxicity of chemotherapeutic drugs against colorectal cancers via improving their subcellular distribution

Wen-yue LIU, Jing-wei ZHANG, Xue-quan YAO, Chao JIANG, Ji-chao HE, Pin NI, Jia-li LIU, Qian-ying CHEN, Qing-ran LI, Xiao-jie ZANG, Lan YAO, Ya-zhong LIU, Mu-lan WANG, Pei-qiang SHEN, Guang-ji WANG, Fang ZHOU
DOI: 10.1038/aps.2016.99


Shenmai injection (SMI) is a Chinese patent-protected injection, which was mainly made of Red Ginseng and Radix Ophiopogonis and widely used for treating coronary heart disease and tumors by boosting Qi and nourishing Yin. In this study we examined whether SMI could produce direct synergetic effects on the cytoxicity of adriamycin (ADR) and paclitaxel (PTX) in colorectal cancers in vivo and in vitro, and explored the underlying pharmacokinetic mechanisms. BALB/c nude mice with LoVo colon cancer xenografts were intraperitoneally injected with ADR (2 mg·kg-1·3d-1) or PTX (7.5 mg·kg-1·3d-1) with or without SMI (0.01 mL·g-1·d-1) for 13 d. Co-administration of SMI significantly enhanced the chemotherapeutic efficacy of ADR and PTX, whereas administration of SMI alone at the given dosage did not produce visible anti-cancer effects, The chemosensitizing action of SMI was associated with increased concentrations of ADR and PTX in the plasma and tumors. In Caco-2 and LoVo cells in vitro, co-treatment with SMI (2 μL/mL) significantly enhanced the cytotoxicity of ADR and PTX, and resulted in some favorable pharmacokinetic changes in the subcellular distribution of ADR and PTX. In addition, SMI-induced intracellular accumulation of ADR was closely correlated with the increased expression levels of P-glycoprotein in 4 colon cancer cell lines (r2=+0.8558). SMI enhances the anti-cancer effects of ADR and PTX in colon cancers in vivo and in vitro by improving the subcellular distributions of ADR and PTX.
Keywords: traditional Chinese medicine; Shenmai injection; colorectal cancers; adriamycin; paclitaxel; chemosensitization; pharmacokinetics; P-glycoprotein

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