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-3 and -6 Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids Enhance Arsenic Trioxide Efficacy in Arsenic Trioxide-Resistant Leukemic and Solid Tumor Cells

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Recently we showed that the polyunsaturated fatty acid (PUFA) docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) sensitizes arsenic trioxide (As2O3)-resistant tumor cells to a clinically achievable concentration (1 M) of As2O3 via a reactive oxygen species (ROS)-dependent mechanism. The aim of the present study was to evaluate, whether this combined effect of As2O3 and DHA is also applicable to other PUFAs [i.e., eicospentaenoic acid (EPA), arachidonic acid (AA), and gamma-linolenic acid (GLA)]. Fourteen tumor cell lines were incubated with As2O3 (1 M), PUFA (25‐100 M), or the combination thereof (┬▒vitamin E). Cell viability (colorimetric), apoptosis (bivariate annexin V/propidium iodide staining, detection of hypodiploid DNA), and thiobarbituric acid reactive substances (TBARS) were evaluated. Twelve of 14 As2O3-resistant cell lines tested were resistant to PUFA monotherapy. However, combined treatment with As2O3 and either PUFA significantly reduced cell viability in a dose-dependent manner with AA being the most potent As2O3 enhancer. The combined cytotoxic effect of As2O3/AA treatment was due to induction of apoptosis, preceded by increased intracellular TBARS and was abolished by the antioxidant vitamin E. Importantly, the combined effect of As2O3 and AA was selectively toxic for malignant cells because no cytotoxic effect was observed in normal skin fibroblasts and human microvascular endothelial cells. In conclusion, our study shows that also other PUFAs than DHA—and in particular the -6-PUFA AA—can be used as effective modulators of tumor cell chemosensitivity to clinically achievable concentrations of As2O3. Enhanced lipid peroxidation most likely constitutes the key mechanism for the combined effect.

Keywords: Apoptosis; Arsenic trioxide; Lipid peroxidation; Polyunsaturated fatty acids; Tumor cells

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: February 1, 2009

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  • Formerly: Oncology Research Incorporating Anti-Cancer Drug Design
    Oncology Research Featuring Preclinical and Clincal Cancer Therapeutics publishes research of the highest quality that contributes to an understanding of cancer in areas of molecular biology, cell biology, biochemistry, biophysics, genetics, biology, endocrinology, and immunology, as well as studies on the mechanism of action of carcinogens and therapeutic agents, reports dealing with cancer prevention and epidemiology, and clinical trials delineating effective new therapeutic regimens.

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