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Increased toxicity of a trinuclear Pt-compound in a human squamous carcinoma cell line by polyamine depletion

  • Johan Kjellström
  • Stina Oredsson
  • Johan Wennerberg
Publishing year: 2012
Language: English
Publication/Series: Cancer Cell International
Volume: 12
Document type: Journal article
Publisher: BioMed Central

Abstract english

Background: Mononuclear platinum anticancer agents hold a pivotal place in the treatment of many forms of cancers, however, there is a potential to improve response to evade resistance development and toxic side effects. BBR3464 is a promising trinuclear platinum anticancer agent, which is a polyamine mimic. The aim was to investigate the influence of polyamine pool reduction on the cytotoxic effects of the trinuclear platinum complex BBR3464 and cisplatin. Polyamine pool reduction was achieved by treating cells with either the polyamine biosynthesis inhibitor alpha-difluoromethylornithine (DFMO) or the polyamine analogue N-1,N-11-diethylnorspermine (DENSPM). Methods: A human squamous cell carcinoma cell line, LU-HNSCC-4, established from a primary head and neck tumour was used to evaluate cellular effects of each drug alone or combinations thereof. High-performance liquid-chromatography was used to quantify intracellular polyamine contents. Inductively coupled mass spectroscopy was used to quantify intracellular platinum uptake. Cells were exposed to DFMO or DENSPM during 48 h at concentrations ranging from 0 to 5 mM or 0 to 10 mu M, respectively. Thereafter, non-treated and treated cells were exposed to cisplatin or BBR3464 during 1 h at concentrations ranging from 0 to 100 mu M. A 96-well assay was used to determine cytotoxicity after five days after treatment. Results: The cytotoxic effect of BBR3464 on LU-HNSCC-4 cells was increased after cells were pre-treated with DENSPM or DFMO, and the interaction was found to be synergistic. In contrast, the interaction between cisplatin and DFMO or DENSPM was near-additive to antagonistic. The intracellular levels of the polyamines putrescine and spermidine were decreased after treatment with DFMO, and treatment with DENSPM resulted in an increase in putrescine level and concomitant decrease in spermidine and spermine levels. The uptake of BBR3464 was significantly increased after pre-treatment of the cells with DFMO, and varied dependent on the concentration of DENSPM. The uptake of cisplatin was unchanged. Conclusions: Taken together, these results demonstrate that combinations of polyamine synthesis inhibitors with BBR3464 appear to be a promising approach to enhance the anticancer activity against HSCC.


  • Cancer and Oncology
  • Polyamines
  • Isobologram
  • N-11-diethylnorspermine
  • N-1
  • alpha-difluoromethylornithine
  • Head and neck carcinoma
  • Cisplatin
  • BBR3464


  • ISSN: 1475-2867
Stina Oredsson
E-mail: stina [dot] oredsson [at] biol [dot] lu [dot] se


Functional zoology

+46 46 222 94 97



Principal investigator

LUCC - Lund University Cancer Centre

Research group

Animal Physiology


Cell proliferation

Doctoral students and postdocs

PhD Students, main supervisor

Wendy Soria Sotillo

PhD Students, assistant supervisor

Atena Malakpour Permlid