Homeopathy 2018; 107(01): 032-039
DOI: 10.1055/s-0037-1618585
Original Research Article
The Faculty of Homeopathy

Evidence that Extreme Dilutions of Paclitaxel and Docetaxel Alter Gene Expression of In Vitro Breast Cancer Cells

Sinem Şeker
1  Department of Medical Biology, Istanbul University, Cerrahpaşa Faculty of Medicine, Istanbul, Turkey
Celal Güven
2  Department of Biophysics, University of Adiyaman, Faculty of Medicine, Adiyaman, Turkey
Handan Akçakaya
3  Department of Biophysics, Istanbul University, Istanbul Faculty of Medicine, Istanbul, Turkey
Nurten Bahtiyar
4  Department of Biophysics, Istanbul University, Cerrahpaşa Faculty of Medicine, Istanbul, Turkey
Fahri Akbaş
5  Department of Medical Biology, Faculty of Medicine at Bezmialem Vakif University, Istanbul, Turkey
İlhan Onaran
1  Department of Medical Biology, Istanbul University, Cerrahpaşa Faculty of Medicine, Istanbul, Turkey
› Author Affiliations
Further Information

Publication History

17 October 2016

04 December 2017

Publication Date:
23 January 2018 (online)


Background Gene expression analysis of cells treated with extreme dilutions or micro amounts of drugs has been used to provide useful suggestions about biological responses. However, most of the previous studies were performed on medicines being prepared from a variety of herbal and metal sources. This study investigated the effects of ultramolecular dilution of the taxane anti-cancer drugs, which are not commonly used in homeopathic medicines, on mRNA expression profiles of five key genes (p53, p21, COX-2, TUBB2A and TUBB3) in the breast cancer cell line MCF-7.

Method MCF-7 cells were exposed to paclitaxel (Taxol) or docetaxel (Taxotere) preparations (6X, 5C and 15C dilutions prepared from pharmacological concentration of 25 nmol/L) for 72 hours. The cell culture groups were evaluated with the trypan blue dye exclusion method for the proliferation/cytotoxicity rates, immuno-staining β-tubulin for microtubule organization, and reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction for gene expression levels.Fold-change in gene expression was determined by the ΔΔCt method.

Results The administration of diluted preparations had little or no cytotoxic effect on MCF-7 cells, but altered the expression of genes analyzed with a complex effect. According to the ΔΔCt method with a five-fold expression difference (p < 0.05) as a cut-off level, ultra-high dilutions of paclitaxel and docetaxel showed differential effects on the studied genes with a concentration-independent activity. Furthermore, the dilutions disrupted the microtubule structure of MCF-7 cells, suggesting that they retain their biological activity.

Conclusion Despite some limitations, our findings demonstrate that gene expression alterations also occur with ultra-high dilutions of taxane drugs.