gms | German Medical Science

76th Annual Meeting of the German Society of Oto-Rhino-Laryngology, Head and Neck Surgery

German Society of Oto-Rhino-Laryngology, Head and Neck Surgery

04.05. - 08.05.2005, Erfurt

Human antimicrobial peptide LL-37 kills squamous cancer cells of the hypopharynx

Meeting Abstract

  • corresponding author Jens Eduard Meyer - HNO-Universitätsklinik Kiel, Kiel
  • Karola Knoke - HNO-Universitätsklinik Kiel, Kiel
  • author Tibor Görögh - HNO-Universitätsklinik Kiel, Kiel
  • Ann-Marie Rųen - HNO-Universitätsklinik Kiel, Kiel
  • Jürgen Harder - HNO-Universitätsklinik Kiel, Kiel
  • author Steffen Maune - HNO-Universitätsklinik Kiel, Kiel

Deutsche Gesellschaft für Hals-Nasen-Ohren-Heilkunde, Kopf- und Hals-Chirurgie. 76. Jahresversammlung der Deutschen Gesellschaft für Hals-Nasen-Ohren-Heilkunde, Kopf- und Hals-Chirurgie e.V.. Erfurt, 04.-08.05.2005. Düsseldorf, Köln: German Medical Science; 2005. Doc05hno664

The electronic version of this article is the complete one and can be found online at:

Published: September 22, 2005

© 2005 Meyer et al.
This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License ( You are free: to Share – to copy, distribute and transmit the work, provided the original author and source are credited.



Although therapy for head and neck cancer has made remarkable progress in the last years, still there is an urgent need for drugs with a new active principle, which selectively kills cancer cells. Many animal cationic antimicrobial peptides (AMP) with a strong affinity to negative charged cell membranes have a higher sensitivity to cancer cells and therefore an antitumoral activity. But to date only few is known on antitumoral activity of human AMP. Therefore the aim of this study was to investigate the in vitro antitumoral activity of human LL-37. Cytotoxicity was measured in a commercially available assay as a function of LDH concentration within the supernatants of adherent cells using an ELISA. LL-37 activity was investigated in a dose- and time-dependent manner on squamous hypopharyngeal cancer cell line HTB-43 and a benign epithelial control cell line HaCat. The LD50 in HTB-43 was 13µg/ml LL-37. LL-37 didn’t show any cytotoxicity in the benign controls at that concentration. Only at the highest used concentration of 50 µg/ml LL-37 a cytotoxic activity of 39 % was evident in the benign control compared to 100 % in the squamous cancer cells. The LD50 in HTB-43 was already reached after 3 hours. Thus, LL-37 seems to have a predominant selective antiumoral activity. The therapeutic capability of LL-37 for the development of new drugs for adjuvant therapy of head and neck cancer remains to be seen.

This investigation was supported by a Research Grant of the Christian-Albrechts-University.