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Anti-neoplastic Activity of Capsaicin in Human Small Cell Lung Cancer

Dr. Piyali Dasgupta

Small cell lung cancer (SCLC) is characterized by rapid progression, early metastasis and a dismal survival rate. My laboratory investigates the anti-cancer activity of the nutritional agent capsaicin in human SCLCs.

Capsaicin is the major active ingredient of chilli peppers. It exhibits chemopreventive effects in animal models, suppressing carcinogenesis of the skin, colon, lung, tongue, and prostate. Although, many studies have addressed the chemopreventive potential of capsaicin, only few have addressed its potential as an anti-cancer nutritional agent.

Preliminary data in our laboratory shows that capsaicin selectively causes apoptosis only in human SCLC cells. TUNEL assays show that capsaicin induces robust apoptosis in NCI-H69 and DMS114 human SCLC cells but does not affect normal human bronchial epithelial (NHBE) cells or normal small airway

Studies in nude mice models show that capsaicin can inhibit the growth of human SCLC cells implanted under the scapulae of mice

Future studies will attempt to identify novel capsaicin-mimetics and test their anti-cancer activity.


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