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Treatment of liver cancer cells with ethyl acetate extract of Crithmum maritimum permits reducing sorafenib dose and toxicity maintaining its efficacy

Objectives: Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is one of the most frequent tumours worldwide and available drugs are inadequate for therapeutic results and tolerability. Hence, novel effective therapeutic tools with fewer side effects are of paramount importance. We have previously shown that Crithmum maritimum ethyl acetate extract exerts a cytostatic effect in HCC cells. Here, we tested whether C. maritimum ethyl acetate extract in combination with half sorafenib IC50 dose ameliorated efficacy and toxicity of sorafenib in inhibiting liver cancer cell growth. Moreover, we investigated the mechanisms involved.

Methods: Two HCC cell lines (Huh7 and HepG2) were treated with C. maritimum ethyl acetate extract and half IC50 sorafenib dose usually employed in vitro. Then, cell proliferation, growth kinetics and cell toxicity were analysed together with an investigation of the cellular mechanisms involved, focusing on cell cycle regulation and apoptosis.

Key findings: Results show that combined treatment with C. maritimum ethyl acetate extract and half IC50 sorafenib dose decreased cell proliferation comparably to full-dose sorafenib without increasing cell toxicity as confirmed by the effect on cell cycle regulation and apoptosis.

Conclusions: These results provide scientific support for the possibility of an effective integrative therapeutic approach for HCC with fewer side effects on patients.

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