The nutritional compound capsaicin has been shown to display anti-neoplastic activity in breast, prostate and colon tumors xenografted in nude mice. Based on these data from other research laboratories, we wanted to determine the bioavailability of capsaicin in nude mice in vivo. We found that capsaicin was rapidly metabolized primarily in the liver. The bioavailability of intact capsaicin was highest in the lung. Therefore, we hypothesized that capsaicin should suppress the growth of lung tumors. We found that capsaicin induced robust apoptosis in human SCLC cell lines. Capsaicin decreased the growth rates of human SCLC tumors in two in vivo models, namely the CAM model and the nude mouse model. HPLC studies showed intact capsaicin in the tumors excised from nude mice. The heat-sensation activity of capsaicin is mediated by the transient receptor potential vanilloid (TRPV) family of proteins. Capsaicin functions as an agonist of the TRPV1 receptor. The apoptotic activity of capsaicin was found to be mediated by TRPV6 and not TRPV1. Preliminary data shows that capsaicin increases the expression of the TRPV6 receptor, causing apoptosis in human SCLCs.

Citation Format: John D. Hurley, William D. Rollyson, Cody A. Stover, Kathleen C. Brown, Haley E. Perry, Cathryn D. Stevenson, Clayton M. Crabtree, Aaron M. Dom, Jamie K. Lau, Theodore R. Witte, W E. Hardman, Piyali Dasgupta. Bioavailability and anti-tumor activity of capsaicin in human small cell lung cancer. [abstract]. In: Proceedings of the 106th Annual Meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research; 2015 Apr 18-22; Philadelphia, PA. Philadelphia (PA): AACR; Cancer Res 2015;75(15 Suppl):Abstract nr 1678. doi:10.1158/1538-7445.AM2015-1678