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Radiotherapy is used extensively in cancer treatment, but radioresistance and the metastatic potential of cancer cells that survive radiation remain critical issues. There is a need for novel treatments to improve radiotherapy. Here, we evaluated the therapeutic benefit of λ-carrageenan (CGN) to enhance the efficacy of radiation treatment and investigated the underlying molecular mechanism. CGN treatment decreased viability in irradiated cancer cells and enhanced reactive oxygen species accumulation, apoptosis, and polyploid formation. Additionally, CGN suppressed radiation-induced chemoinvasion and invasive growth in 3D lrECM culture. We also screened target molecules using a gene expression microarray analysis and focused on Rac GTPase-activating protein 1 (RacGAP1). Protein expression of RacGAP1 was upregulated in several cancer cell lines after radiation, which was significantly suppressed by CGN treatment. Knockdown of RacGAP1 decreased cell viability and invasiveness after radiation. Overexpression of RacGAP1 partially rescued CGN cytotoxicity. In a mouse xenograft model, local irradiation followed by CGN treatment significantly decreased tumor growth and lung metastasis compared to either treatment alone. Taken together, these results suggest that CGN may enhance the effectiveness of radiation in cancer therapy by decreasing cancer cell viability and suppressing both radiation-induced invasive activity and distal metastasis through downregulating RacGAP1 expression.

Original publication




Journal article


Cancers (Basel)

Publication Date





RacGAP1, carrageenan, invasion, metastasis, radiotherapy