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Could Gentian Violet Be Used to Treat Cutaneous T-Cell Lymphoma?

By: Lauren Harrison, MS
Posted: Thursday, November 1, 2018

In a recent study published in JAMA Dermatology, Jianqiang Wu, MD, PhD, and Gary S. Wood, MD, of the University of Wisconsin, discovered that the topical antimicrobial agent gentian violet may prove to be an apoptotic agent for early-stage cutaneous T-cell lymphoma (CTCL). Gentian violet is typically used to prevent infections after minor skin lacerations or as a cytologic stain for Gram-positive bacteria.

Over the course of 3.5 years, the authors screened 1,710 compounds for their ability to cleave caspase 8 in CTCL. Cleaved caspase 8 was used as a marker, as it is a major indicator of the extrinsic apoptotic pathway. They identified gentian violet as an inducer of cell death, as it produced 4 to 6 times more apoptosis in CTCL than in normal keratinocytes through the upregulation of caspase 8 cleavage, death receptors 4 and 5, Fas ligand, and TNF-related apoptosis-inducing ligand. Gentian violet was able to produce up to 90% apoptosis of CTCL cells in Sézary blood cells, and even more cell death occurred when it was paired with methotrexate.

“These preclinical findings may help to broaden knowledge of the antineoplastic features of [gentian violet] and provide a rationale for clinical studies of its use as a novel, inexpensive, topical therapy for CTCL that is available worldwide,” the authors concluded.

 

 



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