Cancer cell necrosis by autoschizis: Synergism of antitumor activity of vitamin C: Vitamin K3 on human bladder carcinoma T24 cells



Scanning and transmission electron microscopy and fluorescence light microscopy were employed to characterize the cytotoxic effects of vitamin C (VitC), vitamin K3 (VitK3) or a VitC:VK3 combination on a human bladder carcinoma cell line (T24) following 1-h and 2-h vitamin treatment. T24 cells exposed to VitC alone exhibited membranous damage (blebs and endoplasmic extrusions, elongated microvilli). VitK3-treated cells displayed greater membrane damage and enucleation than those treated with VitC as well as cytoplasmic defects characteristic of cytoskeletal damage. VitC:VitK3-treated cells showed exaggerated membrane damage and an enucleation process in which the perikarya separate from the main cytoplasmic cell body by self-excision. Self-excisions continued for perikarya which contained an intact nucleus surrounded by damaged organelles. After further excisions of cytoplasm, the nuclei exhibited nucleolar segregation and chromatin decondensation followed by nuclear karryorhexis and karyolysis. This process of cell death induced by oxidative stress was named autoschizis because it showed both apoptotic and necrotic morphologic characteristics.