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J Clin Invest. Jul 1995; 96(1): 491–503.
PMCID: PMC185223

Sulindac sulfide, an aspirin-like compound, inhibits proliferation, causes cell cycle quiescence, and induces apoptosis in HT-29 colon adenocarcinoma cells.


Nonsteroidal antiinflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), have cancer preventive and tumor regressive effects in the human colon. They lower the incidence of and mortality from colorectal cancer and sulindac reduces the number and size of polyps in patients with familial adenomatous polyposis. We studied the effect of sulindac, and its metabolite sulindac sulfide, on the proliferation of HT-29 colon adenocarcinoma cells. Both compounds reduced the proliferation rate of these cells, changed their morphology, and caused them to accumulate in the G0/G1 phase of the cell cycle. These responses were time- and concentration-dependent and reversible. In addition, these compounds reduced the level and activity of several cyclin-dependent kinases (cdks), which regulate cell cycle progression. Sulindac and sulindac sulfide also induced apoptosis in these cells at concentrations that affected their proliferation, morphology, and cell cycle phase distribution. Sulindac sulfide was approximately sixfold more potent than sulindac in inducing these cellular responses. Our results indicate that inhibition of cell cycle progression and induction of apoptotic cell death contribute to the anti-proliferative effects of sulindac and sulindac sulfide in HT-29 cells. These findings may be relevant to the cancer preventive and tumor regressive effects of these compounds in humans.

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