Efficacy of antioxidants as a complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) in combination with the chemotherapeutic agent doxorubicin

Ming Thau Sheu, Hua Jing Jhan, Chien Ming Hsieh, Chien Ju Wang, Hsiu O. Ho

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

37 Citations (Scopus)


Introduction. Although doxorubicin (Dox)-induced cardiac toxicity and pegylated liposomal doxorubicin (PLD)-induced hand-foot syndrome (HFS) were reported to be correlated with reactive oxygen species (ROS) generation, there is no effective preventive treatment at present. Therefore, the aim of this study was to investigate whether antioxidants - resveratrol (RSVL), tetrahydroxystilbene glucoside (THSG), curcumin, and the ethanolic extract of Antrodia cinnamomea (EEAC) - have the ability to reduce Dox-induced ROS and have a synergistic anticancer effect with Dox that could prevent those side effects and enhance the efficacy of cancer treatment. Methods. 3T3 normal cells were used as a model to evaluate the effects of these antioxidants in reducing ROS accumulation. Furthermore, the synergistic anticancer effect of antioxidants with Dox on the MCF-7 breast cancer model was also evaluated. Results. Pretreatment of cells with RSVL, curcumin, and EEAC increased the cell antioxidant ability by improving the activity of superoxide dismutase (SOD), prevented or limited intracellular damage, and ameliorated the harmful effects of ROS. Additionally, RSVL, curcumin, and EEAC had synergistic effects with Dox against MCF-7 breast cancer cells. Conclusion. RSVL, curcumin, and EEAC have the potential to be clinically applied to prevent cardiac toxicity and HFS and enhance the anticancer efficiency of Dox.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)184-195
Number of pages12
JournalIntegrative Cancer Therapies
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Mar 17 2015


  • Antrodia cinnamomea
  • curcumin
  • doxorubicin
  • reactive oxygen species
  • resveratrol
  • tetrahydroxystilbene glucoside

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Complementary and alternative medicine
  • Oncology


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