Polycosanols derived from plant species have traditionally been used in medicine as antiproliferative
agents for treating various viruses (primarily the herpes simplex virus). However, few studies have studied their
effects on hyperproliferative cell lines. In this work, the antiproliferative capacity of polycosanols from tall-oil
pitch, obtained from black liquor soaps in the kraft pulping process of cellulose (specifically from Pinus radiata
, and Eucalyptus globulus
), was evaluated on CHO-K1 and CRL-1974 human melanoma cell lines.
The proliferative capacities and cell viabilities were measured for 72 and 140 h, respectively. Treatment
with docosanol produced differential effects on the CHO-K1 and human melanoma cells and significantly affected
their proliferation rates, but not their cell viabilities. Tetracosanol produced a significant negative effect on the
proliferation of human melanoma cells, and this effect was less than that caused by docosanol. However, it had
no effect on the proliferation of CHO-K1 cells and did not induce any significant effect on the viability of the
studied cell lines.
Docosanol and tetracosanol induced antiproliferative effects on the studied cell lines and exhibited
significantly greater effects on the oncogenic cell lines. Prior to this study, the capacity of these polycosanols
has never been investigated. Future studies will be necessary to determine their mechanisms of action on
these cell systems.