WASHINGTON--Laboratory studies from Rockefeller University, presented
at Digestive Disease Week, suggest that caffeine may have a synergistic
effect with NSAIDs in preventing the growth of cancer cells.
At a press briefing, Yael Goldberg, MD, said that laboratory tests have
shown that NSAIDs have an antiproliferative effect on colon cancer cells
as well as the capacity to interfere with the cell cycle and induce apoptosis.
And among the cells that do not die, about 90% arrest in the cell cycle,
Working in the laboratory of Dr. Steven Shiff, Dr. Goldberg and her
colleagues treated colon cancer cells with different agents in an attempt,
she said, "to look more closely at the mechanism responsible for the
antineoplastic effect of NSAIDs, and to think about practical ways to treat
The researcher treated HT-29 colon adenocarcinoma cells and U-2 OS osteosarcoma
cells for 72 hours with either a control medium alone or a control medium
supplemented with indomethacin (400 µM), sulindac (1,200 µM),
sulindac sulfide (175 µM), or caffeine (4 µM), or co-supplemented
with caffeine and one of each of the NSAIDs.
In both HT-29 and U-2 OS cells, caffeine treatment alone profoundly
inhibited proliferation but did not induce apoptosis.
Co-treatment with caffeine and one of the NSAIDs reduced proliferation
more than did treatment with any of the agents used alone. When used in
combination, caffeine significantly enhanced NSAID-induced apoptosis, and
also altered cell cycle distribution and levels of several key proteins
that likely modulate the NSAID-induced cell cycle arrest.