Mefloquine (MQ) is currently in clinical use as a prophylactic treatment for malaria. Previous studies have shown that MQ induces oxidative stress in vitro. The present study investigated the anticancer effects of MQ treatment in PC3 cells. The cell viability was evaluated using sulphorhodamine-B (SRB) staining, while annexin V and propidium iodide (PI) were used as an assay for cell death. Reactive oxygen species (ROS) formation was detected with 2',7'-dichlorofluorescein-diacetate (DCFH-DA), a sensitive intracellular probe, and the alteration of cellular status was defined by trypan blue staining. The results of the present study indicated that MQ has a high cytotoxicity that causes cell death in PC3 cells. MQ markedly inhibited the PC3 cells through nonapoptotic cell death. MQ also induced significant ROS production. The MQ treatment mediated G1 cell cycle arrest and cyclin D1 accumulation through p21 upregulation in the PC3 cells. Moreover, the use of MQ improved the survival of the treatment group compared with the control group in the experimental mice. The present study indicates that MQ possesses potential therapeutic efficacy for the treatment of prostate cancer (PCa) in vivo. These findings provide insights that may aid the further optimization and application of new and existing therapeutic options.
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