Metformin enhances antitumor action of sodium dichloroacetate against glioma C6


  • D.L. Kolesnik R.E. Kavetsky Institute of Experimental Pathology, Oncology and Radiobiology
  • O.N. Pyaskovskaya R.E. Kavetsky Institute of Experimental Pathology, Oncology and Radiobiology
  • O.V. Yurchenko R.E. Kavetsky Institute of Experimental Pathology, Oncology and Radiobiology
  • G.I. Solyanik R.E. Kavetsky Institute of Experimental Pathology, Oncology and Radiobiology



glioma C6, metformin, sodium dichloroacetate


Summary. It is known that the arsenal of chemotherapeutic agents for the treatment of malignant brain tumors is quite limited, which causes the high relevance of research aimed at finding new effective antitumor regimens, including the use of energy metabolism modifiers. Aim: To investigate the anti-glioma activity of sodium dichloroacetate (DCA) and metformin (MTF) used in combination in vitro and in vivo. Materials and Methods: Cell survival, cell cycle, apoptosis, mitochondrial membrane potential (Δψm), ATP level, the glucose consumption rate, and lactate production rate were determined in vitro in cultured glioma C6 cells. The antitumor action of agents in vivo was evaluated routinely by the prolongation of the life span of rats with transplanted intracerebral glioma C6 and was confirmed by histological examination of tumor tissue. Results: The half maximal inhibitory concentration (IC50) for DCA and MTF used separately was 79.2 ± 2.1 mM and 78.4 ± 4.0 mM, respectively, whereas IC50 for DCA used in combination with 7.8 mM MTF was 3.3 fold lower (24.0 ± 1.2 mM, p < 0.05). The 1-day incubation of cells with DCA at a concentration close to IC50 (25 mM), in combination with MTF at a concentration by order lower than IC50 (7.8 mM), in contrast to their separate use, resulted in a decrease in the number of viable cells by 40% (p < 0.05); redistribution of the cells by the cell cycle phases toward decreased proportion of cells in the S-phase by 46% (p < 0.05) and an increased percentage of cells in the G0/G1 phase by 24% (p < 0.05) compared to similar indices in the control. High proapoptotic activity of DCA in combination with MTF was supported by a significantly higher percentage of apoptotic cells in vitro than in the control (18.9 ± 4.4% vs 5.7 ± 1.3%, p < 0.05) and a high number of tumor cells with signs of apoptosis revealed during the histological examination of tumor pathomorphosis. The combined effect of DCA and MTF resulted in almost 4-fold decrease of the glucose consumption rate by glioma C6 cells (0.23 ± 0.05 μmol/106 cells/h vs 0.91 ± 0.12 μmol/106 cells/h, p < 0.05) compared to the corresponding parameters in the control, and 2-fold increased rate of lactate production (1.06 ± 0.03 μmol/106 cells/h vs 0.53 ± 0.03 μmol/106 cells/h, p < 0.05). At the same time, both Δψm and the level of intracellular ATP in the glioma C6 cells treated with DCA and MTF, both separately and in combination, did not differ significantly from those indices in the control. In in vivo studies, the average life span of rats with intracranial transplanted glioma C6, treated with DCA in combination with MTF in a total dose of 1.1 and 2.6 g/kg body weight, respectively, was 50% higher (p < 0.001) than in the control group. In contrast, in the case of single-use (at a dose of 2.6 g/kg), MTF increased the life span of tumor-bearing animals just by 19% (p < 0.01), whereas DCA alone (at a dose of 1.1 g/kg) did not significantly change the survival time of rats. Conclusions: The obtained data indicate synergism of anti-glioma action of DCA and MTF in a case of their combined use both in vitro and in vivo and may be considered a starting point for the development of effective treatment regimens for malignant brain tumors based on the combined use of DCA and MTF.


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How to Cite

Kolesnik, D., Pyaskovskaya, O., Yurchenko, O., & Solyanik, G. (2023). Metformin enhances antitumor action of sodium dichloroacetate against glioma C6. Experimental Oncology, 41(2), 123–129.



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