Department of Neurosurgery, Bezmialem Vakif University Medical School, Fatih, Istanbul, Turkey; Department of Molecular Biology, Beykoz Institute of Life Sciences and Biotechnology, Bezmialem Vakif University, Istanbul, Turkey. Electronic address: [Email]
BACKGROUND : Patients with brain metastasis from melanoma have a dismal prognosis with poor survival time. Gamma Knife (GK) is an effective treatment to control brain metastasis from melanoma. Thymoquinone (TQ) has emerged as a potential therapeutic option due to its antiproliferative effects on various cancers. The purpose of the study was to assess the effect of GK on B16-F10 melanoma cells in vitro and intracerebral melanoma in vivo, and its synergistic effect in combination with TQ. METHODS : The effects of GK and combination treatment of GK and TQ were studied on B16-F10 melanoma cells by evaluating cytotoxicity with an adenosine triphosphate assay, apoptosis by acridine orange staining, and genotoxicity by comet assay. Western blot analysis was performed to investigate the expression of STAT3, p-STAT3 (Tyr705), JAK2, p-JAK2, caspase-3, Bax, Bcl-2, survivin, and β-actin. Expression of inflammatory cytokines was assessed by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. GK alone and in combination with TQ was assessed in an established intracerebral melanoma tumor in mice. RESULTS : The effects of GK on cytotoxicity, genotoxicity, and apoptosis were enhanced by TQ in B16-F10 melanoma cells. GK induced apoptosis through inhibition of p-STAT3 expression, which in turn regulated pro- and antiapoptotic proteins such as caspase-3, Bax, Bcl-2, and survivin. Adding TQ to GK irradiation further enhanced this apoptotic effect of GK irradiation. GK was shown to reduce the levels of tumor-related inflammatory cytokines in B16-F10 melanoma cells. This effect was more pronounced when TQ was added to GK irradiation. GK with 15 Gy increased the survival of mice with intracerebral melanoma compared with untreated mice. However, despite the additive effect of TQ in addition to GK irradiation on B16-F10 melanoma cells in vitro, TQ did not add any significant survival benefit to GK treatment in mice with intracerebral melanoma. CONCLUSIONS : Our findings suggest that TQ would be a potential therapeutic agent in addition to GK to enhance the antitumor effect of irradiation. Further studies are required to support our findings.