Alternate Title

Effect of Holothurin on Sarcoma 180 and B-16 Melanoma Tumors in Mice

Document Type



Holothurin, a biotoxic principle from the Cuvierian glands of the Bahamian sea-cucumber, Actinopyga agassizi, was studied as an anti-tumor agent capable of retarding tumor growth and prolonging the life of tumor-bearing mice. White Swiss mice injected with Sarcoma 180 had a mean survival time of 18.1 days with an average weight gain representing tumor and ascites fluid accumulation amounting to 25.1 grams in 15 days. Of five white Swiss mice with Sarcoma 180 receiving 0.15 mg Holothurin every other day, one was alive at 57 days and the average weight gain of the group was 10.4 grams in 15 days. White Swiss mice with Sarcoma 180 which survived the lethal effects of slightly higher doses of Holothurin also had prolonged survival times and negligible tumor growth. C57-Bl-6J mice with B-16 melanoma tumors did not show increased survival time using the same doses of Holothurin that were effective in white Swiss mice. Toxicity tests indicated that the safe upper limit for intraperitoneal Holothurin injection in white Swiss mice was 0.10 mg/day, 0.15 mg given every other day, and up to 0.30 mg given in a single injection. Similar tests with C57 black mice showed survival with as much as 0.60 mg Holothurin in a single subcutaneous injection. Holothurin was found to be 250 to 500 times more effective in causing red blood cell hemolysis than saponin and thus appears to have some action on living cells in addition to its surfactant action.

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