The antioxidant properties of α-tocopherol have been proposed to play a beneficial chemopreventive role against cancer. However, emerging data also indicate that it may exert contrasting effects on the efficacy of chemotherapeutic treatments when given as dietary supplement, being in that case harmful for patients. This dual role of α-tocopherol and, in particular, its effects on the efficacy of anticancer drugs remains poorly documented. For this purpose, we studied here, using high throughput flow cytometry, the direct impact of α-tocopherol on apoptosis and cell cycle arrest induced by different cytotoxic agents on various models of cancer cell lines in vitro. Our results indicate that physiologically relevant concentrations of α-tocopherol strongly compromise the cytotoxic and cytostatic action of various protein kinase inhibitors (KI), while other classes of chemotherapeutic agents or apoptosis inducers are unaffected by this vitamin. Interestingly, these anti-chemotherapeutic effects of α-tocopherol appear to be unrelated to its antioxidant properties since a variety of other antioxidants were completely neutral toward KI-induced cell cycle arrest and cell death. In conclusion, our data suggest that dietary α-tocopherol could limit KI effects on tumour cells, and, by extent, that this could result in a reduction of the clinical efficacy of anti-cancer treatments based on KI molecules. © 2012 Pédeboscq et al.
Pédeboscq, S., Rey, C., Petit, M., Harpey, C., de Giorgi, F., Ichas, F., & Lartigue, L. (2012). Non-antioxidant properties of α-tocopherol reduce the anticancer activity of several protein Kinase inhibitors in vitro. PLoS ONE, 7(5). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0036811