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Cimetidine induces apoptosis of human salivary gland tumor cells

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It has been reported that cimetidine, a histamine type-2 receptor (H2R) antagonist, inhibits the growth of glandular tumors such as colorectal cancer. However, its effects against salivary gland tumors are still unknown. We demonstrated previously that human salivary gland tumor (HSG) cells spontaneously express the neural cell adhesion molecule (NCAM) and also that HSG cell proliferation could be controlled via a homophilic (NCAM-NCAM) binding mechanism and that NCAM may be associated with perineural invasion by malignant salivary gland tumors. In the present study, we investigated the effects of cimetidine via the expression of NCAM on tumor growth and perineural/neural invasion in salivary gland tumor cells. Expression of both NCAM mRNA and protein was found to decrease in a dose-dependent manner upon treatment with cimetidine for 24 h. The MTT assay and confocal laser microscopy clearly showed that HSG cells underwent apoptosis after treatment with cimetidine. Activation of caspases 3, 7, 8 and 9 was observed in HSG cells after cimetidine treatment, thus confirming that the apoptosis was induced by the activated caspases. Apaf-1 activity was also detected in HSG cells in a dose-dependent manner after treatment with cimetidine. We also found that the cimetidine-mediated down-regulation of NCAM expression in HSG cells did not occur via blocking of the histamine receptor, even though H2R expression was observed on HSG cells, as two other H2R antagonists, famotidine and ranitidine, did not show similar effects. We demonstrated for the first time that cimetidine can induce significant apoptosis of salivary gland tumor cells, which express NCAM, at least in part by down-regulation of NCAM expression on the cells. These findings suggest that the growth, development and perineural/neural invasion of salivary gland tumor cells can be blocked by cimetidine administration through down-regulation of NCAM expression, as well as induction of apoptosis.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Second Division of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, Department of Diagnostic and Therapeutic Science, Meikai University School of Dentistry, Sakado, Saitama 350-0283, Japan., Email: [email protected]

Publication date: January 1, 2007

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