Synergy between selenium and vitamin E in apoptosis induction is associated with activation of distinctive initiator caspases in human prostate cancer cells.Cancer Res. 2003 Oct 15; 63(20):6988-95.CR
The ongoing Selenium and Vitamin E Chemoprevention Trial is designed to evaluate the efficacy of these two agents, either individually or in combination, in reducing the incidence of prostate cancer in healthy men over 55 years of age. Little information, however, is available on the potential synergy between vitamin E and selenium in chemoprevention. The present study was aimed at addressing this gap of knowledge with the use of the androgen-unresponsive, p53-null, PC-3 human prostate cancer cell line. The growth-inhibitory activity of vitamin E appeared to be dependent on the chemical form. In our hands, D-alpha-tocopheryl succinate (VES) was much more potent than either DL-alpha-tocopherol or D-alpha-tocopheryl acetate. Combining VES with methylseleninic acid (MSA), a selenium metabolite, produced a synergistic effect on cell growth suppression. The synergy was accounted for primarily by an augmented apoptotic response. Poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase cleavage and activation of specific caspases were confirmed by Western blot analysis. The caspases that were commonly modulated by either VES or MSA included initiator caspases-8 and -10, as well as executioner caspases-3, -6, and -7. In contrast, caspase-9 was activated only by VES, whereas caspases-1 and -12 were activated only by MSA. Based on the above information, it is proposed that the mitochondrial pathway and the endoplasmic reticulum stress/cytokine signaling pathway might be involved in apoptosis induction by VES and MSA, respectively. These two pathways may act in a cooperative manner to switch on the full force of the apoptotic machinery when cells are treated with both VES and MSA.