Properties of realgar bioleaching using an extremely acidophilic bacterium and its antitumor mechanism as an anticancer agent
Abstract Realgar is a naturally occurring arsenic sulfide (or Xionghuang, in Chinese). It contains over 90% tetra-arsenic tetrasulfide (As4S4). Currently, realgar has been confirmed the antitumor activities, both in vitro and in vivo, of realgar extracted using Acidithiobacillus ferrooxidans (A. ferrooxidans). Bioleaching, a new technology to greatly improve the use rate of arsenic extraction from realgar using bacteria, is a novel methodology that addressed a limitation of the traditional method for realgar preparation. The present systematic review reports on the research progress in realgar bioleaching and its antitumor mechanism as an anticancer agent. A total of 93 research articles that report on the biological activity of extracts from realgar using bacteria and its preparation were presented in this review. The realgar bioleaching solution (RBS) works by inducing apoptosis when it is used to treat tumor cells in vitro and in vivo. When it is used to treat animal model organisms in vivo, such as mice and Caenorhabditis elegans, tumor tissues grew more slowly, with mass necrosis. Meanwhile, the agent also showed obvious inhibition of tumor cell growth. Bioleaching technology greatly improves the utilization of realgar and is a novel methodology to improve the traditional method.