Apoptosis : an international journal on programmed cell death

Comparison of the rapid pro-apoptotic effect of trans-beta-nitrostyrenes with delayed apoptosis induced by the standard agent 5-fluorouracil in colon cancer cells.

PMID 17136318


Trans-beta-nitrostyrene (TBNS) has been reported to be a potent inhibitor of protein phosphatases PTB1 and PP2A and to display a pro-apoptotic effect even in multidrug resistant tumour cells. Here we compared the anti-tumour potential of TBNS with 5-fluorouracil (5-FU) as the standard chemotherapeutic agent for colorectal cancer in LoVo cells. Resistance to 5-FU based therapy might be a consequence of 5-FU's delayed effect requiring long-term effective concentrations in the tumour tissue. Thus, alternatives like platin containing drugs with a more rapid effect have been introduced recently. Compared to 5-FU TBNS displayed a faster cytotoxic and pro-apoptotic effect. A 50% decrease in viability was observed already after 8 h with TBNS while 5-FU displayed no significant effect before 48 h. DNA fragmentation and caspase-3 assays confirmed the more rapid apoptotic effect of TBNS. Since apoptosis affects individual cells these results about a rapidly induced apoptosis were further studied on a single cell level in microscopic assays of caspase-3 and caspase-8 activation. Adducts of trans-beta-nitrostyrene displayed an anti-tumour effect comparable to TBNS which suggests the possibility of creating adducts with optimised tissue targeting. Finally, the calculation of a drug combination index displayed a synergistic effect for the combination of TBNS and 5-FU in Lovo as well as in HT-29 and HCT116 colon cancer cells.

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trans-β-Nitrostyrene, 99%