Effect of cerium lanthanide on Hela and MCF-7 cancer cell growth

AA Palizban, H Sadeghi-aliabadi, F Abdollahpour


The anti-cancer activity of metal ions in the lanthanide group is being considered recently. It has been reported that cerium salts might stimulate the metabolism and therefore, produce anti-cancer effects. However, little is known about the effects of protein-cerium complex in controlling cancer cell growth. The aim of the present study was to elucidate the possible pathways for the cytotoxic effect of cerium in the presence of apo-transferrin on two cancer cell lines (Hela and MCF-7), that express transferrin receptors 3-4 fold higher than normal cells. The effect of different concentrations of cerium (0.1, 1, 10, 100 μΜ) in the presence and absence of transferrin for 48 h and 72 h incubation periods (37 ºC, 5% CO2 and 95% humidity) was studied using the MTT assay. The results showed that cerium has a cell-proliferation inhibitory activity which is significantly increased by transferrin protein. Compared with the direct treatment of cancer cells with cerium, the presence of transferrin assisted inhibition of cell proliferation by 20% and 40% in Hela and MCF-7 cells, respectively. Though apo-transferrin could lightly induce cell growth particularly in MCF-7 cells by itself, this phenomenon could not overcome the cerium-protein cell-proliferation inhibition activity. In conclusion, our results indicate that at a certain concentration, the cerium compounds could be possibly involved in the control of cell proliferation and inhibiting the growth of cancer cells.

Keywords: Cytotoxicity; Cerium; Transferrin; Hela cell line; MCF-7 cell line; MTT assay

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