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Biochemistry Research International
Volume 2016 (2016), Article ID 3137010, 14 pages
Research Article

Para-Phenylenediamine Induces Apoptotic Death of Melanoma Cells and Reduces Melanoma Tumour Growth in Mice

1Department of Biochemistry, University of Calcutta, 35 Ballygunge Circular Road, Kolkata 700 019, India
2Cytometry Solutions Pvt Ltd., Tripti Mitra’s Garden, Balia Garia Station Road, Kolkata, West Bengal 700084, India
3Cancer & Cell Biology Division, CSIR-Indian Institute of Chemical Biology, 4 Raja SC Mullick Road, Kolkata, West Bengal 700032, India

Received 27 November 2015; Revised 28 March 2016; Accepted 4 April 2016

Academic Editor: Graham Côté

Copyright © 2016 Debajit Bhowmick et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Melanoma is one of the most aggressive forms of cancer, usually resistant to standard chemotherapeutics. Despite a huge number of clinical trials, any success to find a chemotherapeutic agent that can effectively destroy melanoma is yet to be achieved. Para-phenylenediamine (p-PD) in the hair dyes is reported to purely serve as an external dyeing agent. Very little is known about whether p-PD has any effect on the melanin producing cells. We have demonstrated p-PD mediated apoptotic death of both human and mouse melanoma cells in vitro. Mouse melanoma tumour growth was also arrested by the apoptotic activity of intraperitoneal administration of p-PD with almost no side effects. This apoptosis is shown to occur primarily via loss of mitochondrial membrane potential (MMP), generation of reactive oxygen species (ROS), and caspase 8 activation. p-PD mediated apoptosis was also confirmed by the increase in sub-G0/G1 cell number. Thus, our experimental observation suggests that p-PD can be a potential less expensive candidate to be developed as a chemotherapeutic agent for melanoma.