The most common oral cancer is squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) and its highest occurrence is in the tongue. Almost 30% of patients with one primary head and neck tumor will have a second primary malignancy. In recent studies, two novel plant extracts, andrographolide and cannabidiol (CBD), have been exploited for their anticancer effects. Here, we investigated the cytotoxic effects of these two compounds on SCC-25 cells, a human tongue squamous carcinoma cell line, and compared the outcomes with two chemotherapeutic drugs, cisplatin and fluorouracil. Electric cell substrate impedance sensing (ECIS) system was applied to measure frequency- and time-dependent impedance of SCC-25 cell-covered electrodes and to further assess subtle changes in cell morphology and micromotion in response to different concentrations (0, 10, 30, 100, and 300 µM) of these compounds. AlamarBlue and Annexin V/7-AAD binding assays were used to measure the concentration dependent changes in viability and apoptosis of SCC-25 cells. Our results demonstrate that 24 hours after exposure to 30 µM CBD can significantly decrease the micromotion rate, damage the integrity of cell morphology, reduce cell viability, and induce higher apoptosis in treated SCC-25 cells, while the other three drugs attain similar effects at the concentration of 100 µM or higher. The apoptosis-induced changes in cell morphology and micromotion monitored by ECIS correlate well with biochemical assays. Thus, both frequency- and time-dependent impedance measurements using ECIS can be used to real-time follow cancer cell activities in response to anticancer drugs with different temporal cytotoxicity profiles.
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