Toxicology and applied pharmacology

Promotion or suppression of experimental metastasis of B16 melanoma cells after oral administration of lapachol.

PMID 18294668


Lapachol [2-hydroxy-3-(3-methyl-2-butenyl)-1,4-naphthoquinone] is a vitamin K antagonist with antitumor activity. The effect of lapachol on the experimental metastasis of murine B16BL6 melanoma cells was examined. A single oral administration of a high toxic dose of lapachol (80-100 mg/kg) 6 h before iv injection of tumor cells drastically promoted metastasis. This promotion of metastasis was also observed in T-cell-deficient mice and NK-suppressed mice. In vitro treatment of B16BL6 cells with lapachol promoted metastasis only slightly, indicating that lapachol promotes metastasis primarily by affecting host factors other than T cells and NK cells. A single oral administration of warfarin, the most commonly used vitamin K antagonist, 6 h before iv injection of tumor cells also drastically promoted the metastasis of B16BL6 cells. The promotion of metastasis by lapachol and warfarin was almost completely suppressed by preadministration of vitamin K3, indicating that the promotion of metastasis by lapachol was derived from vitamin K antagonism. Six hours after oral administration of lapachol or warfarin, the protein C level was reduced maximally, without elongation of prothrombin time. These observations suggest that a high toxic dose of lapachol promotes metastasis by inducing a hypercoagulable state as a result of vitamin K-dependent pathway inhibition. On the other hand, serial oral administration of low non-toxic doses of lapachol (5-20 mg/kg) weakly but significantly suppressed metastasis by an unknown mechanism, suggesting the possible use of lapachol as an anti-metastatic agent.

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Lapachol, 98%