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Biochemical pharmacology

β-phenylethyl isothiocyanate reverses platinum resistance by a GSH-dependent mechanism in cancer cells with epithelial-mesenchymal transition phenotype.


PMID 23219523

Abstract

Platinum (Pt)-based chemotherapy is an important regimen in the clinical treatment of cancer, but development of drug resistance presents a major challenge. One key mechanism involved in resistance to Pt drugs is the decrease of intracellular Pt due to the drug efflux through the glutathione (GSH)-mediated export, and this is particularly significant in cancer cells with stem-cell like properties. In the present study, we showed that two Pt-resistant human cancer cell lines exhibited stem-cell like EMT properties, had high cellular GSH and accumulated significantly less cellular Pt compared to their parental cells, and failed to undergo apoptosis when exposed to Pt at the drug concentrations toxic to the parental cells. Importantly, we found that the natural compound β-phenylethyl isothiocyanate (PEITC) was able to effectively abolish this drug resistant mechanism by effective depletion of cellular GSH, leading to a significant increase in cellular Pt as well as DNA-bound Pt. A combination of PEITC and Pt showed a striking synergistic anticancer activity both in vitro and in vivo, as evidenced by an increase in drug-induced apoptosis, a loss of colony formation capacity, and significant suppression of tumor growth in mice. Taken together, our study shows a promising therapeutic strategy to overcome drug resistance to platinum-based chemotherapy and may potentially have broad implications in clinical treatment of cancer.

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C9H9NS