Download Full Text (505 KB)


Purpose: Systemic treatment of colorectal cancer involves chemotherapeutic agents which elicit serious and negative side effects from the toxicity of the drug. To address this issue, we are testing dietary supplements for their efficacy against human colon cancer cell lines and also their potential synergistic effects when combined with conventional chemotherapy. Dietary supplements (specifically sesamol and black rice extract) exhibit anticancer, anti-inflammatory, and chemo-preventive properties. Meanwhile, one of the cancer resistance mechanisms is the upregulation of drug elimination mechanisms, leading to multi-drug resistance. We hypothesize that dietary compounds will act as chemo-enhancers, thus enhancing potency of the chemotherapy drug(s) on colon cancer cell lines, even in the presence of induced drug-resistance mechanisms.

Methods: LS180 or HT29 human colonic adenocarcinoma cells were cultured in 96-well plates in standard media lacking or containing active vitamin D (250nM). Doxorubicin, oxaliplatin, irinotecan (chemotherapeutics), sesamol, and black rice extract (dietary supplements) were examined at varying concentrations to determine their antiproliferative potencies. Alamar blue activity was measured by fluorimetry to compare the growth rates in the presence of the treatments.

Results: In the presence of vitamin D, the tested substances showed decreased potency against cell proliferation. Vitamin D treatments accelerated cell proliferation and decreased the potency of doxorubicin (IC50 values: 1.9nM (alone), 3.9nM (vitamin D)). However, a large degree of variability obscured some of the results.

Conclusions: Futures studies will find ways to decrease the variability and determine the extent to which sesamol and black rice extract enhance chemotherapy and overcome drug resistance mechanisms.

Publication Date



sesamol, black rice extract, colon cancer, efficacy, chemotherapeutics, synergistic effects


Medicine and Health Sciences | Natural Products Chemistry and Pharmacognosy | Oncology | Pharmaceutical Preparations | Pharmaceutics and Drug Design | Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences

Current Academic Year


Faculty Advisor/Mentor

Dr. Phillip M. Gerk


© The Author(s)

Testing the Efficacy and Synergistic Components of Sesamol and Black Rice Extract on Human Colon Cancer Cells