Before treatment with the cytotoxic drug cis-dichlorodiammineplatinum(II) (cis-platinum), 9L rat brain gliosarcoma cells grown in vitro were depleted of intracellular polyamines by α-difluoromethylornithine (DFMO; 10 mm, 48 hr), an enzymeactivated, irreversible inhibitor of the polyamine-synthetic enzyme ornithine decarboxylase. In contrast to studies that showed that the cytotoxicity of 1,3-bis (2-chloroethyl)-1-nitrosourea as measured by colony-forming efficiency is enhanced by DFMO depletion of intracellular polyamines, the cytotoxicity of cis-platinum was significantly decreased in polyamine-depleted 9L cells. At 10, 1, and 0.1% survival levels, the dose modification factors were 2.0 to 2.1. Addition of exogenous putrescine to polyamine-depleted 9L cells 24 hr before treatment with cis-platinum partially reversed this phenomenon. When 9L cells were treated either with DFMO and cis-platinum or with DFMO, putrescine, and cis-platinum for 1 hr, a time period that is too short for DFMO to affect intracellular polyamine levels, the cytotoxicity of cis-platinum was decreased, but to a significantly lesser extent than by the 48-hr DFMO pretreatment. Putrescine alone did not alter the cytotoxic effect of cis-platinum when administered either 24 or 1 hr before treatment. DFMO appears to affect cis-platinum cytotoxicity by two different mechanisms, the first medicated through polyamine depletion and the second through a direct interaction with cis-platinum.


Supported by American Cancer Society Grant RD-137, NIH Grant CA-13525 and the Morris Stulsaft Foundation.

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