Vitamin C at high concentrations induces cytotoxicity in malignant melanoma but promotes tumor growth at low concentrations.
Mol Carcinog. 2017 Mar 30. Epub 2017 Mar 30. PMID: 28370562
Vitamin C has been used in complementary and alternative medicine for cancers regardless of its ineffectiveness in clinical trials and the paradoxical effects antioxidants have on cancer. Vitamin C was found to induce cytotoxicity against cancers. However, the mechanisms of action have not been fully elucidated, and the effects of vitamin C on human malignant melanoma have not been examined. This study revealed that vitamin C at millimolar concentrations significantly reduced the cell viability as well as invasiveness, and induced apoptosis in human malignant melanoma cells. Vitamin C displayed stronger cytotoxicity against the Vemurafenib-resistance cell line A2058 compared with SK-MEL-28. In contrast, vitamin C at micromolar concentrations promoted cell growth, migration and cell cycle progression, and protected against mitochondrial stress. Vemurafenib paradoxically activated the RAS-RAF-MEK-ERK signaling pathway in the Vemurafenib-resistant A2058, however, vitamin C abolished the activations. Vitamin C displayed synergistic cytotoxicity with Vemurafenib against the Vemurafenib-resistant A2058. In vivo assay suggested that lower dosage (equivalent to 0.5g/70kg) of vitamin C administered orally increased the melanoma growth. Therefore, vitamin C may exert pro- or anti-melanoma effect depending on concentration. The combination of vitamin C at high dosage and Vemurafenib is promising in overcoming the action of drug resistance. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.