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Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Volume 2017, Article ID 8152526, 8 pages
Research Article

Synergistic Antitumor Effects of Berbamine and Paclitaxel through ROS/Akt Pathway in Glioma Cells

1Department of Neurosurgery, The First Affiliated Hospital with Nanjing Medical University, Nanjing, China
2Department of Neurosurgery, Yancheng City No. 1 People’s Hospital, The Fourth Affiliated Hospital of Nantong Medical College, Yancheng, China
3Department of Endocrinology, Yancheng Third Hospital, The Affiliated Hospital of Southeast University Medical College, Yancheng, China

Correspondence should be addressed to Ning Liu; moc.621@3580gninuil

Received 15 February 2017; Accepted 28 June 2017; Published 13 August 2017

Academic Editor: Yoshiyuki Kimura

Copyright © 2017 Feng Jia 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.


In our preliminary study, Berbamine (BA), one of the most commonly used traditional Chinese medicines, was effective in inducing the intracellular ROS levels. Since the regulation of cellular antioxidant capacity is crucial to the sensitivity of Ptx, it is feasible to propose that sensitizing cells to Ptx can be achieved through increasing the antioxidant capacity by codelivering BA. Cytotoxicity test demonstrates that either single or combinational treatment of BA and Ptx dose-dependently inhibits the proliferation of U-87 cells. Median-effect analysis clearly proves the synergistic anticancer effect between BA and Ptx. Combinational treatment of both drugs induced more intracellular ROS generation than either of the drugs did. Cotreatment of NAC could partially reverse the ROS generation and ameliorate the cytotoxicity induced by BA plus Ptx. Moreover, sequential activation of ROS-dependent phosphor-Akt expression was dose-dependently inhibited by the combinational application of BA and Ptx, which was more significantly effective than the single treatment of either BA or Ptx. Additionally, the coadministration of BA and Ptx shows the strongest tumor delaying effect in a U87 xenograft model, demonstrating the synergism between two drugs. Therefore, BA is a promising adjuvant to traditional chemotherapy, especially in combination with Ptx, to treat malignant glioma.