Can dicoumarol be used as a gonad-safe anticancer agent: An in vitro and in vivo experimental study

Duru Aras, Ozgur Cinar, Zeynep Cakar, Sinan Ozkavukcu, Alp Can (Lead / Corresponding author)

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Study hypothesis: Dicoumarol (DC) has potential for use as a gonad-safe anticancer agent. study finding: DCaltered cell proliferation, decreased viability and increased apoptosis in Vero and MCF-7 cell lines but did not showany toxic effect on mouse ovarian tissues and developing oocytes in vitro and in vivo. what is known already: DCsuppresses cell proliferation and increases apoptosis in various cancer cells such as breast, urogenital and melanoma. DC has also been reported to alter the anticancer effects of several chemotherapeutics, including cisplatin, gemcitabine and doxorubicin in prostate, liver and uroepithelial cancer cells, respectively. study design, samples/materials, methods: Vero (African green monkey kidney epithelial cells) and MCF-7 (human cancerous breast epithelial cells) cell lines and mouse granulosa cells isolated from 21-day-old female BALB/c mice (n = 21) were used to assess the effects ofDC(10, 50, 100 and 200 mM) for 24 and 48 h on cell proliferation, viability and apoptotic cell death. In vivo experiments were performed with a single i.p. injection of 32 mg/kg DC in 21-day-old female BALB/c mice (n = 12). Following 48 h, animals were sacrificed by cervical dislocation and histological sections of isolated ovaries were evaluated for apoptosis. Viability assays were based on the trypan blue dye exclusion method and an automated cell counter device was used. Terminal deoxynucleotidyltransferase-mediated dUTP nick-end labelling (TUNEL) and Annexin-V immunofluorescence were assessed by 3D confocal microscopy to address apoptotic cell death.We also assessed whether DC inhibits cell proliferation and viability through NQO1 [NAD(P)H Quinone Oxidoreductase 1], an intracellular inhibitor of reactive oxygen species (ROS). The meiotic spindle and chromosomes were studied in mouse oocytes by a-b-tubulin and 7-aminoactinomycine D (7-AD) immunostaining in vitro and in vivo. main results and the role of chance: DCdoes not block oocyte maturation and no significant alteration was noted in meiotic spindle or chromosome morphology in metaphase-II (M-II) stage oocytes followingDCtreatment in vitro or in vivo. In contrast, exposure toDCfor 24 h suppressed cell proliferation (P = 0.026 at 200 mM), decreased viability (P = 0.002 at 200 mM) and increased apoptosis (P = 0.048 at 100 mM) in Vero and MCF-7 cell lines, compared with controls. These changes were not related to intracellular NQO1 levels. Mouse granulosa cellswere unaffected by 50 or 100 mMDCtreatment for 24 and 48 h in vitro.DCtreatment in vivo did not alter the number of primordial follicles or the ratio of apoptosis in primordial, primary and secondary follicles, as well as in antral follicles, compared with the controls. limitations, reasons for caution: DC was tested for ovarian toxicity only in isolated mouse oocytes/ovaries and healthy BALB/c mice. No cancer formation was used as an in vivo test model. The possibility that DC may potentiate ovarian toxicity when combined with traditional chemotherapeutic agents, such as mitomycin-C, cisplatin, gemcitabine and doxorubicin, must be taken into account, as DC is known to alter their effects in some cancer cells. wider implications of the findings: The present study evaluated, for the first time, the effect of DC on ovarian tissue. The results suggested that DC is not toxic to ovarian tissues and developing oocytes; therefore, DC should be assessed further as a potential anticancer agent when female fertility preservation is a concern. large scale data: N/ funding and competing interest(s): This workincludes datafrom dissertation thesis entitled 'Effects of dicoumarol on mitotic and meiotic cells as an anticancer agent' by DA, 2014 and was partly supported by The National Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey (SBAG-109S415) to AC, OC and SO. The authors confirm that this article content presents no conflicts of interest.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbergav065
Pages (from-to)57-67
Number of pages11
JournalMolecular Human Reproduction
Issue number1
Early online date26 Nov 2015
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2016


  • apoptosis
  • Dicoumarol
  • Fertility preservation
  • meiosis
  • Oocyte

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Reproductive Medicine
  • Embryology
  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics
  • Obstetrics and Gynaecology
  • Developmental Biology
  • Cell Biology


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