Int J Mol Sci. 2023 Aug 11;24(16):12705. doi: 10.3390/ijms241612705.
Several phytochemicals, which display antioxidant activity and inhibit cancer cell phenotypes, could be used for cancer treatment and prevention. Lignin, as a part of plant biomass, is the second most abundant natural biopolymer worldwide, and represents approximately 30% of the total organic carbon content of the biosphere. Historically, lignin-based products have been viewed as waste materials of limited industrial usefulness, but modern technologies highlight the applicability of lignin in a variety of industrial branches, including biomedicine. The aims of our preliminary study were to compare the antioxidant properties of water-soluble alkali lignin solutions, before and after UV-B irradiation, as well as to clarify their effect on colon cancer cell viability (Colon 26), applied at low (tolerable) concentrations. The results showed a high antioxidant capacity of lignin solutions, compared to a water-soluble control antioxidant standard (Trolox) and remarkable radical scavenging activity was observed after their UV-B irradiation. Diminishment of cell viability as well as inhibition of the proliferative activity of the colon cancer cell line with an increase in alkali lignin concentrations were observed. Our results confirmed that, due to its biodegradable and biocompatible nature, lignin could be a potential agent for cancer therapy, especially in nanomedicine as a drug delivery system.