Differential effects of cold atmospheric plasma in the treatment of malignant glioma

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Objective: Cold atmospheric plasma (CAP) has recently been shown to selectively target cancer cells with minimal effects on normal cells. We systematically assessed the effects of CAP in the treatment of glioblastoma. Methods: Three glioma cell lines, normal astrocytes, and endothelial cell lines were treated with CAP. The effects of CAP were then characterized for viability, cytotoxicity/apoptosis, and cell cycle effects. Statistical significance was determined with student's t-test. Results: CAP treatment decreases viability of glioma cells in a dose dependent manner, with the ID50 between 90-120 seconds for all glioma cell lines. Treatment with CAP for more than 120 seconds resulted in viability less than 35% at 24-hours posttreatment, with a steady decline to less than 20% at 72-hours. In contrast, the effect of CAP on the viability of NHA and HUVEC was minimal, and importantly not significant at 90 to 120 seconds, with up to 85% of the cells remained viable at 72-hours post-treatment. CAP treatment produces both cytotoxic and apoptotic effects with some variability between cell lines. CAP treatment resulted in a G2/M-phase cell cycle pause in all three cell lines. Conclusions: This preliminary study determined a multi-focal effect of CAP on glioma cells in vitro, which was not observed in the non-tumor cell lines. The decreased viability depended on the treatment duration and cell line, but overall was explained by the induction of cytotoxicity, apoptosis, and G2/M pause. Future studies will aim at further characterization with more complex pre-clinical models.




Siu, A., Volotskova, O., Cheng, X., Khalsa, S. S., Bian, K., Murad, F., … Sherman, J. H. (2015). Differential effects of cold atmospheric plasma in the treatment of malignant glioma. PLoS ONE, 10(6). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0126313

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