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Cellular & Molecular Biology Letters

Open Access

Ascorbic acid inhibits the migration of walker 256 carcinosarcoma cells

  • Ewa Wybieralska1,
  • Monika Koza1,
  • Jolanta Sroka1,
  • Jarosław Czyż1 and
  • Zbigniew Madeja1Email author
Cellular & Molecular Biology LettersAn International Journal200713:40

Received: 30 May 2007

Accepted: 20 July 2007

Published: 29 October 2007


The results of several experimental studies have shown that ascorbic acid inhibits tumor growth and metastasis. Ascorbic acid is an antioxidant that acts as a scavenger for a wide range of reactive oxygen species (ROS). Both tumour metastasis and cell migration have been correlated with the intracellular ROS level, so it was postulated that the inhibitory effect of ascorbic acid derivatives on cell motility may be caused by scavenging of ROS. Time-lapse analyses of Walker 256 carcinosarcoma cell migration showed that both the speed of movement and the cell displacement were inhibited by ascorbic acid applied in concentrations ranging from 10 to 250 μM. This effect correlated with a reduction in the intracellular ROS level in WC 256 cells, suggesting that ROS scavenging may be a mechanism responsible for the inhibition of WC 256 cell migration. However, another potent antioxidant, N-acetyl-L-cysteine, also efficiently decreased the intracellular ROS level in WC 256 cells, but did not affect the migration of the investigated cells. These results demonstrate that intact, unmodified ascorbic acid applied in physiologically relevant and nontoxicconcentrations exerts an inhibitory effect on the migration of WC 256 carcinosarcoma cells, and that this may be one of the factors responsible for the anti-metastatic activity of vitamin C. However, our data does not support the hypothesis that the scavenging of intracellular ROS is the main mechanism in the inhibition of cancer cell migration by ascorbic acid.

Key words

Ascorbic acidCell migrationMetastasisReactive oxygen species