Enhancement of anticancer activity by silibinin and paclitaxel combination on the ovarian cancer

Background: Ovarian carcinoma is the most lethal cancer among all gynaecological malignancies. One of the most chemotherapy drugs used for ovarian cancer is paclitaxel which induces apoptosis. Paclitaxel has been used for many years. Similar to the most cancers this responds to chemotherapy initially but in a long run, drug resistance happens which fails the treatment procedure. Combination of chemotherapy drugs has been suggested to deal with this issue. Silibinin, a plant extraction, has been used from ancient time in traditional medicine and identified to have powerful antioxidant activity.

Aim: The aim of this study was to examine the effect of paclitaxel and silibinin combination on SKOV-3 cancer cell line.

Materials and methods: The human epithelial ovarian cancer cell line, SKOV-3, was cultured and treated with paclitaxel, silibinin and paclitaxel plus silibinin for 48 hours. MTT assay was carried out to determine cell viability. For apoptotic process, we used real-time PCR to study P53 and P21 genes expression after drug treatment and network analysis was performed using Pathway Studio web tool (Elsevier).

Results: Cell growth was inhibited considerably (p < .05) by combination of paclitaxel and silibinin after 48 hours of treatment. Also silibinin and paclitaxel combination induced apoptosis in SKOV-3 cells. Expression analysis by real-time PCR showed the significant up-regulation of two tumour suppressor genes, P53 and P21 in response to combination of silibinin and paclitaxel. In addition, computational network analysis demonstrated the crosstalk between paclitaxel, silibinin and ovarian cancer.

Conclusions: Our results showed that combination of chemotherapy drugs of silibinin and paclitaxel can be more efficient in treatment of ovarian cancer cells.