Cytotoxic effect of Montivipera bornmuelleri’s venom on cancer cell lines: in vitro and in vivo studies

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Carol Haddoub, Mohamad Rima, Sandrine Heurtebise, Myriam Lawand, Dania Jundi, Riyad Sadek, Sebastian Amigorena, Ziad Fajloun, Marc C. Karam

Montivipera bornmuelleri’s venom has shown immunomodulation of cytokines release in mice and selective cytotoxicity on cancer cells in a dose-dependent manner, highlighting an anticancer potential. Here, we extend these findings by elucidating the sensitivity of murine B16 skin melanoma and 3-MCA-induced murine fibrosarcoma cell lines to M. bornmuelleri’s venom and its effect on tumor growth in vivo.

The toxicity of the venom on B16 and MCA cells was assessed using flow cytometry and xCELLigence assays. For in vivo testing, tumor growth was followed in mice after intratumoral venom injection.

The venom toxicity showed a dose-dependent cell death on both B16 and MCA cells. Interestingly, overexpression of ovalbumin increased the sensitivity of the cells to the venom. However, the venom was not able to eradicate induced-tumor growth when injected at 100 µg/kg. Our study demonstrates a cytotoxic effect of M. bornmuelleri’s venom in vitro which, however, does not translate to an anticancer action in vivo.