Antioxidants May Protect Cancer Cells from Apoptosis Signals and Enhance Cell Viability

  • Akan, Zafer (Department of Biophysics, School of Medicine, Yuzuncu Yil University) ;
  • Garip, Ayse Inhan (Department of Biophysics, School of Medicine, Marmara University)
  • Published : 2013.08.30


Quercetin is one of the most abundant dietary flavonoids widely present in many fruits and vegetables. Previous in vitro studies has shown that quercetin acts as an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory agent and it has potent anticarcinogenic properties as an apoptosis inducer. In this study we examined apoptotic effects of quercetin on the K562 erythroleukemia cell line. K562 cells were induced to undergo apoptosis by hydrogen peroxide. Cell viability and apoptosis level were assessed by annexin V and PI staining methods using flow cytometry. Viability of K562 cells was increased by low dose of quercetin (5-100 ${\mu}M$) for 3 hours. High doses of quercetin proved toxic (100-500 ${\mu}M$, 24 hours) and resulted in decrease of K562 cell viability as expected (p<0.01). As to results, 100 ${\mu}M$ quercetin was defined as a protective dose. Also, K562 cell apoptosis due to hydrogen peroxide was decreased in a dose dependent manner. As indicated in previous studies, reduction of superoxides by free radical scavengers like quercetin could be beneficial for prevention of cancer but consumption of such flavonoids during cancer treatment may weaken effects of chemotherapeutics and radiotherapy. Especially cancer patients should be carefully considered for traditional phytotherapy during cancer treatment, which can lead to controversial results.


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