Pulsed Electromagnetic Fields (PEMFs) Trigger Cell Death and Senescence in Cancer Cells

Author: Pavlos Pantelis1, Giorgos Theocharous1, Dimitris Veroutis1, Ioanna-Aglaia Vagena1,2, Aikaterini Polyzou1, Dimitris-Foivos Thanos1, Efthymios Kyrodimos3, Athanassios Kotsinas1, Konstantinos Evangelou1, Nefeli Lagopati1,2,4, Vassilis G Gorgoulis1,4,5,6,7, Nicholas Kotopoulos1
1 Molecular Carcinogenesis Group, Department of Histology and Embryology, Medical School, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens (NKUA), 11527 Athens, Greece.
2 Laboratory of Biology, Department of Basic Medical Sciences, Medical School, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens (NKUA), 11527 Athens, Greece.
3 1st ENT Department, Hippocration Hospital, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens (NKUA), 11527 Athens, Greece.
4 Biomedical Research Foundation, Academy of Athens, 11527 Athens, Greece.
5 Ninewells Hospital and Medical School, University of Dundee, Dundee DD1 9SY, UK.
6 Faculty Institute for Cancer Sciences, Manchester Academic Health Sciences Centre, University of Manchester, Manchester M20 4GJ, UK.
7 Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences, University of Surrey, Surrey GU2 7YH, UK.
Conference/Journal: Int J Mol Sci
Date published: 2024 Feb 20
Other: Volume ID: 25 , Issue ID: 5 , Pages: 2473 , Special Notes: doi: 10.3390/ijms25052473. , Word Count: 191

The currently available anti-cancer therapies, such as gamma-radiation and chemotherapeutic agents, induce cell death and cellular senescence not only in cancer cells but also in the adjacent normal tissue. New anti-tumor approaches focus on limiting the side effects on normal cells. In this frame, the potential anti-tumor properties of Pulsed Electromagnetic Fields (PEMFs) through the irradiation of breast cancer epithelial cells (MCF-7 and MDA-MB-231) and normal fibroblasts (FF95) were investigated. PEMFs had a frequency of 8 Hz, full-square wave type and magnetic flux density of 0.011 T and were applied twice daily for 5 days. The data collected showcase that PEMF application decreases the proliferation rate and viability of breast cancer cells while having the opposite effect on normal fibroblasts. Moreover, PEMF irradiation induces cell death and cellular senescence only in breast cancer cells without any effect in the non-cancerous cells. These findings suggest PEMF irradiation as a novel, non-invasive anti-cancer strategy that, when combined with senolytic drugs, may eliminate both cancer and the remaining senescent cells, while simultaneously avoiding the side effects of the current treatments.

Keywords: cancer therapeutics; cell death; cell viability; pulsed electromagnetic fields (PEMFs); senescence.

PMID: 38473720 PMCID: PMC10931548 DOI: 10.3390/ijms25052473