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Open Access Open Badges Primary research

Synergistic effect of paclitaxel and epigenetic agent phenethyl isothiocyanate on growth inhibition, cell cycle arrest and apoptosis in breast cancer cells

Katherine Liu1, Shundong Cang2, Yuehua Ma2 and Jen Wei Chiao1*

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Medicine, New York Medical College, Valhalla, NY 10595, USA

2 Department of Oncology, Henan Province People’s Hospital, Zhengzhou, China

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Cancer Cell International 2013, 13:10  doi:10.1186/1475-2867-13-10

Published: 7 February 2013


This study examined whether combining paclitaxel (taxol) with a novel epigenetic agent phenethyl isothiocyanate (PEITC) will yield a synergistic effect on inhibiting breast cancer cells. Two drug-resistant breast cancer cell lines, MCF7 and MDA-MB-231, were treated with PEITC and taxol. Cell growth, cell cycle, and apoptosis were examined. The combination of PEITC and taxol significantly decreased the IC50 of PEITC and taxol over each agent alone. The combination also increased apoptosis by more than two fold over each single agent in both cell lines. A significant increase of cells in the G2/M phases was detected. In conclusion, the combination of PEITC and taxol exhibits a synergistic effect on growth inhibition in breast cancer cells. This combination deserves further study in vivo.