Biomedicine & pharmacotherapy = Biomedecine & pharmacotherapie

Zoledronic acid exerts antitumor effects in NB4 acute promyelocytic leukemia cells by inducing apoptosis and S phase arrest.

PMID 25312823


The aim of this study was to investigate the antitumor effect of zoledronic acid (ZOL) in the NB4 human acute promyelocytic leukemia (APL) cell line and explore the potential mechanism of action of this compound. NB4 cells were exposed to various concentrations (0-200μM) of ZOL. Cell viability was measured by MTS assay. The extent of cell apoptosis and distribution of cells in the different phases of the cell cycle were analyzed with flow cytometry. The expression of apoptosis- and cell cycle-related proteins was assayed by Western blot. The combined effect of ZOL and arsenic trioxide (ATO) on the proliferation of NB4 cells was also determined. The results of this study indicate that ZOL inhibits cell proliferation in a time- and dose-dependent fashion and also induces apoptosis and S phase arrest in a dose-dependent manner. The Western blot analysis confirmed the induction of apoptosis and S phase arrest, revealing that the pro-apoptosis proteins Bax, Puma and activated caspase-9 were upregulated and the anti-apoptosis proteins Bcl-2 and Bcl-xL were downregulated. ZOL at a concentration of 50μM synergized with 0.5μM ATO on the growth inhibition of NB4 cells. Taken together, our data indicate that ZOL exerts a potent antitumor effect on NB4 cells by inducing apoptosis and cell cycle arrest, and that ZOL can synergize with the traditional chemotherapy drug ATO.