Background: Capecitabine, an oral anticancer prodrug, was associated with relatively mild degrees of side effects, notably low myelosuppression. Previous studies demonstrated capecitabine monotherapy as safe and very useful for recurrent and advanced metastatic breast cancer patients who are generally associated with a poor prognosis. Materials and methods: Capecitabine and two conventional cytotoxic antineoplastic drugs (epirubicin and docetaxel) were employed in this study in order to compare their therapeutic antineoplastic effects. The tumour tissues obtained from 42 patients and breast carcinoma cell lines were treated with the chemotherapeutic agents above in vitro. Their efficacy was determined using ATP Bioluminescence assay which measures the metabolic rate, WST-1 assay that could quantify the inhibition of cell proliferation and immunohistochemical studies. The proapoptotic effects was examined using in situ apoptosis kit. Results: Both solid tumour and cell lines treated by capecitabine as well as two drugs above demonstrated a significant decrement in metabolic and proliferation rates. However, capecitabine treatment resulted in significant increment of the number of the tumour cells undergoing apoptosis. Conclusion: Results of our present study demonstrated that capecitabine could be a useful agent against breast cancer cells with less side effects and its inhibition of cell proliferation of breast carcinoma is at least similar to that of two other commonly used cytotoxic drugs.
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