Advanced melanoma can metastasize to distal organs from the skin and yield an aggressive disease and poor prognosis even after treatment with chemotherapeutic agents. The compound n-Butylidenephthalide (BP) is isolated from Angelica sinensis, which is used to treat anemia and gynecological dysfunction in traditional Chinese medicine. Studies have indicated that BP can inhibit cancers, including brain, lung, prostate, liver, and colon cancers. However, because BP is a natural hydrophobic compound, it is quickly metabolized by the liver within 24 h, and thus has limited potential for development in cancer therapy. This study investigated the anticancer mechanisms of BP through encapsulation with a novel polycationic liposome containing polyethylenimine (PEI) and polyethylene glycol complex (LPPC) in melanoma cells. The results demonstrated that BP/LPPC had higher cytotoxicity than BP alone and induced cell cycle arrest at the G0/G1 phase in B16/F10 melanoma cells. The BP/LPPC-treated cell indicated an increase in subG1 percentage and TUNEL positive apoptotic morphology through induction of extrinsic and intrinsic apoptosis pathways. The combination of BP and LPPC and clinical drug 5-Fluorouracil had a greater synergistic inhibition effect than did a single drug. Moreover, LPPC encapsulation improved the uptake of BP values through enhancement of cell endocytosis and maintained BP cytotoxicity activity within 24 h. In conclusion, BP/LPPC can inhibit growth of melanoma cells and induce cell arrest and apoptosis, indicating that BP/LPPC has great potential for development of melanoma therapy agents.
- Polycationic liposome containing PEI and polyethylene glycol complex (LPPC)