Oesophageal squamous cell carcinoma ranks amongst the ten most frequently occurring cancers in the world with some of the highest incidences being reported in the Eastern Cape region of South Africa (Transkei). The etiology of this disease remains obscure. 2-Methoxyestradiol (2 ME), an endogenous estrogen metabolite, may be a defense mechanism against tumors. The aim of this study was to investigate whether 2 ME affects proliferation and/or induces apoptosis in oesophageal cancer cell lines and if so, by what mechanism. 2 ME decreased cell numbers in two oesophageal cell lines investigated. Cells treated with 2 ME showed morphological hallmarks of apoptosis, G2/M arrest and spindle disruption. Increased expression of death receptor 5 protein suggested that the extrinsic pathway was activated to induce apoptosis in oesophageal cancer cells. 2 ME has antitumor effects on oesophageal cancer cells by inducing apoptosis. It can be suggested that 2 ME can be considered to be a potential chemotherapeutic for the treatment of oesophageal cancer.
Dissertation (MSc (Physiology))--University of Pretoria, 2006.