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Alexa AL, Jurj A, Tomuleasa C, Tigu AB, Hategan RM, Ionescu D: The effect of different anesthetic techniques on proliferation, apoptosis, and gene expression in colon cancer cells: A pilot in vitro study. Curr Issues Mol Biol 2023; 45: 738-751

September 20, 2023

Background: Colorectal cancer is highly common and causes high mortality rates. Treat- ment for colorectal cancer is multidisciplinary, but in most cases the main option remains surgery. Intriguingly, in recent years, a number of studies have shown that a patient’s postoperative outcome may be influenced by certain anesthetic drugs. Our main objective was to compare the effect of propofol–total intravenous anesthesia (TIVA) with sevoflurane anesthesia and to investigate the potential role of intravenous lidocaine on colon cancer cell functions. We tested the effects of serum from colorectal cancer patients undergoing TIVA vs. sevoflurane anesthesia with or without lidocaine on HCT 116 cell lines; on proliferation, apoptosis, migration, and cell cycles; and on cancer-related gene expressions. Methods: 60 patients who were scheduled for colorectal cancer surgery were randomized into four different groups (two groups with TIVA and two groups with sevoflurane anesthesia with or without intravenous lidocaine). Blood samples were collected at the start and at the end of surgery. HCT 116 cells were exposed to the patients’ serum. Results: 15 patients were included in each of the study groups. We did not find any significant difference on cell viability or apoptosis between the study groups. However, there was an increased apoptosis in propofol groups, but this result was not statistically significant. A significant increase in the expression profile of the TP53 gene in the propofol group was registered (p = 0.029), while in the other study groups, no significant differences were reported. BCL2 and CASP3 expressions increased in the sevoflurane–lidocaine group without statistical significance. Conclusions: In our study, serum from patients receiving different anesthetic techniques did not significantly influence the apoptosis, migration, and cell cycle of HCT-116 colorectal carcinoma cells. Viability was also not significantly influenced by the anesthetic technique, except the sevoflurane–lidocaine group where it was increased. The gene expression of TP53 was significantly increased in the propofol group, which is consistent with the results of similar in vitro studies and may be one of the mechanisms by which anesthetic agents may influence the biology of cancer cells. Further studies that investigate the effects of propofol and lidocaine in different plasma concentrations on different colon cancer cell lines and assess the impacts of these findings on the clinical outcome are much needed.
colon cancer; propofol; lidocaine; tumor suppressor gene; cell culture; anesthesia.