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September 1996

Growth Inhibition of Squamous Cell Carcinoma Xenografts With the Polyamine Analogue BE 4444

Author Affiliations

From the Departments of Human Oncology (Drs Auchter and Harari and Messrs Pickart and Nash) and Biostatistics (Dr Qu), University of Wisconsin, Madison.

Arch Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 1996;122(9):977-981. doi:10.1001/archotol.1996.01890210051012

Background:  The capacity of radiation to cure advanced head and neck squamous cell carcinoma is compromised by the proliferation of surviving tumor cells during the course of therapy (overall duration, often 7-9 weeks). Antiproliferative agents that inhibit tumor proliferation, even in the absence of direct cytotoxicity, may be useful adjuncts for concurrent use with radiation. Modulation of endogenous polyamine (PA) metabolism has the potential to inhibit cell growth. The PA analogue 1,19-bis(ethylamino)-5,10,15-triazanonadecane (BE 4444) is a synthetic compound that demonstrates antiproliferative effects in human tumor cells.

Objective:  To evaluate the PA analogue BE 4444 for its inhibitory effect on the growth of human squamous cell carcinoma xenografts in nude mice.

Design:  Xenografts of human squamous cell carcinomas were grown in nude mice; then, BE 4444 was injected intraperitoneally (5 mg/kg) on a twice-daily schedule for 8 days. Tumor growth measurements were performed twice weekly for 8 weeks and compared with those of control mice that were injected with sterile saline solution on the same schedule. The PA levels in the tumor and normal tissue samples were assayed at the completion of treatment.

Results:  Tumor volume in the BE 4444–treated mice was reduced by 62% compared with tumor volumes in control mice, and the tumor growth rate was reduced by 64%. This growth inhibition was maintained through completion of the experiment. Levels of endogenous PAs were not significantly different from control levels, suggesting that the mechanism of action for BE 4444 is not simply PA biosynthesis inhibition.

Conclusions:  The PA analogue BE 4444 is an inhibitor of human squamous cell cancer growth. Further studies are in progress to characterize the potential value of PA analogues as adjuncts to radiation therapy for rapidly proliferating squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck.Arch Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 1996;122:977-981

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