Anticancer research

Putative supramolecular complexes formed by carotenoids and xanthophylls with ascorbic acid to reverse multidrug resistance in cancer cells.

PMID 22287739


The molecular basis of interaction of selected carotenoids and xanthophylls with ascorbic acid on cancer cells was studied to determine their anticancer effects. Drug accumulation was measured in a human ABCB1 gene-transfected mouse lymphoma cell line and in a human lung cancer cell line by flow cytometry; furthermore, their anticancer effects were determined in mice in vivo. Several carotenoids inhibited the multidrug resistance of cancer cells. Ascorbic acid improved the effect of certain xanthophylls, but the effect of capsanthin was not modified. Capsanthin had weak (12%) but capsorubin (85%) had a remarkable antiproliferative effect on A549 lung cancer cells. Capsorubin reduced immediate-early tumor antigen expression, while capsanthin was not effective. Capsorubin accumulates selectively in the nuclei of cancer cells. The Authors suggest a special complex formation between membrane-bound capsorubin and ascorbic acid, which can be exploited in experimental chemotherapy.