The search for snake venom antitumor efficacy has attracted the interest of scientists since the beginning of last century. Snake venom possesses a wide spectrum of biological activities. In this study, we evaluated the effect of Echis coloratus crude venom on the evolution of Ehrlich ascites carcinoma cells (EAC). Normal and EAC-bearing mice were treated with 0.2 mg/kg body weight of crude venom. Crude venom was seen to suppress tumor growth by significantly decreasing EAC cell count and cell viability (p<0.01). There was also a significant increase in survival time of the venom-treated tumor-bearing mice (52.3%, p<0.05) in comparison to the non-treated tumor-bearing counterparts. The study of venom effect and/or tumor inoculation on some important biochemical parameters and enzyme activities showed that the expected venom toxic effect disappeared due to the low (sublethal) dose; treatment of the tumor-bearing mice with this low dose could correct and restore biochemical parameters to normal levels which had been altered due to tumor growth. It can be concluded that Echis coloratus crude venom antitumor efficiency exceeded or camouflaged its toxic effect.
snake venom; Echis coloratus; Ehrlich ascites carcinoma; tumor growth; biochemistry