Optimization of EGCG as Alternative Therapy for Cervical Cancer

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Illustration by Feri Fenoria

UNAIR NEWS – Cervical cancer is one of the deadliest diseases in the world. The number of deaths due to cervical cancer had reached eighteen thousand and is expected to increase. With the increasing prevalence of disease, more effective therapies are needed in the management of cervical cancer.

One compound that has been shown to have anti-cancer activity is EGCG ( Epigallocathecin gallate ). EGCG is a compound isolated from natural products, one of them is tea. EGCG has been tested as a potent anti-oxidant activity.

“EGCG is proven to have anticancer activity through several mechanisms including inhibiting the formation of cancer cells, inhibiting the division of cancer cells, and inhibiting the formation of blood vessels in cancerous tissue that can inhibit its growth,” explained Andang Miatmoko, Ph.D., Apt, a lecturer of Department of Pharmaceutics, Faculty of Pharmacy UNAIR.

In the treatment of cervical cancer, EGCG is proposed to be used locally. This aims to increase the effectiveness of the therapy.

“However, EGCG has a low ability to enter the skin due to the phenolic group in its structure, “Andang said.

In this study, an attempt was made to increase the ability of EGCG into the skin. By optimizing the value of the partition coefficient, it is expected that EGCG can penetrate the skin well. To achieve this, a combination of surfactants is used, Tween 80 and Span 80.

A combination of Tween 80 and Span 80 is tried with various comparative values ​​to achieve a certain HLB ( hydrophilic-lipophilic balance ) value. The HLB number will be an indicator whether the compound is more soluble in fat or water. The method used in this study is reverse micelle.

Based on the research conducted, the optimal partition coefficient value of EGCG can be obtained by making a mixture of EGCG with Tween 80 and Span 80 on the HLB 6 value. Furthermore, the results of cytotoxicity test on Hela cancer cells showed that the modification of EGCG-surfactant at HLB 6 has an effectiveness higher in inhibiting the growth of cancer cells than pure EGCG.

“These results indicate that the modified EGCG-Surfactant has the ability to penetrate cell membranes better than pure EGCG,” Andang said.

“This happens because of a change in the characteristics of EGCG to be more lipophilic,” he continued.

These modified EGCG compounds were also tested in vivo using mice. As a result, the modified EGCG is proven to penetrate deeper into the skin layer, thereby increasing its effectiveness. With further development, it is expected to be an alternative treatment for cervical cancer in the form of creams or ovules. (*)

Author: Sukma Cindra Pratiwi

Editor : Khefti Al Mawalia  

Related article link :


Noorma Rosita, Vinta Arnike Meitasari, Mirna Candra Rianti, Dewi Melani Hariyadi & Andang Miatmoko. 2019. Enhancing skin penetration of epigallocatechin gallate by modifying partition coefficient using reverse micelle method.

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