Hydrogen has been used to suppress tumor growth with considerable efficacy. Inhalation of hydrogen gas and oral ingestion of hydrogen-rich saline are two common systemic routes of hydrogen administration. We have developed a topical delivery method of hydrogen at targeted sites through the degradation of magnesium-based biomaterials. However, the underlying mechanism of hydrogen’s role in cancer treatment remains ambiguous. Here, we investigate the mechanism of tumor cell apoptosis triggered by the hydrogen released from magnesium-based biomaterials. We find that the localized release of hydrogen increases the expression level of P53 tumor suppressor proteins, as demonstrated by the in vitro RNA sequencing and protein expression analysis. Then, the P53 proteins disrupt the membrane potential of mitochondria, activate autophagy, suppress the reactive oxygen species in cancer cells, and finally result in tumor suppression. The anti-tumor efficacy of magnesium-based biomaterials is further validated in vivo by inserting magnesium wire into the subcutaneous tumor in a mouse. We also discovered that the minimal hydrogen concentration from magnesium wires to trigger substantial tumor apoptosis is 91.2 μL/mm3 per day, which is much lower than that required for hydrogen inhalation. Taken together, these findings reveal the release of H2 from magnesium-based biomaterial exerts its anti-tumoral activity by activating the P53-mediated lysosome-mitochondria apoptosis signaling pathway, which strengthens the therapeutic potential of this biomaterial as localized anti-tumor treatment.
Biodegradable magnesium (Mg) implants spontaneously releasing therapeutic agents against tumors are an intriguing therapeutic approach for both tissue repair and tumor treatment. Anastomotic staples are extensively used for wound closure after surgical resection in patients with colorectal tumors. However, the safety of Mg anastomosis implants for intestinal closure and the effect of tumor suppression remain elusive. Here, we used a high-purity Mg staple to study these issues. Based on the results, we found that it has the potential to heal wounds produced after colorectal tumor resection while inhibiting relapse of residual tumor cells in vitro and in vivo. After implantation of Mg staples for 7 weeks in rabbits, the intestinal wound gradually healed with no adverse effects such as leakage or inflammation. Furthermore, the implanted Mg staples inhibit the growth of colorectal tumor cells and block migration to normal organs because of the increased concentration of Mg ions and released hydrogen. Such an antitumor effect is further confirmed by the in vitro cell experiments. Mg significantly induces apoptosis of tumor cells as well as inhibits cell growth and migration. Our work presents a feasible therapeutic opinion to design Mg anastomotic staples to perform wound healing and simultaneously release tumor suppressor elements in vivo to decrease the risk of tumor recurrence and metastasis.