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J Radiat Res. 2011;52(4):456-63. doi: 10.1269/jrr.10188.

8-Aminoadenosine enhances radiation-induced cell death in human lung carcinoma A549 cells.

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  • 1Laboratory of Radiation Biology, Department of Environmental Veterinary Sciences, Graduate School of Veterinary Medicine, Hokkaido University, Japan.


The combination of a chemotherapeutic agent and radiation is widely applied to enhance cell death in solid tumor cells in cancer treatment. The purine analogue 8-aminoadenosine (8-NH(2)-Ado) is known to be a transcription inhibitor that has proved very effective in multiple myeloma cell lines and primary indolent leukemia cells. In this report, to examine whether 8-NH(2)-Ado had the ability to enhance the radiation-induced cell killing in solid tumor cells, human lung adenocarcinoma A549 cells were irradiated in the presence and absence of 8-NH(2)-Ado. 8-NH(2)-Ado significantly increased reproductive cell death and apoptosis in A549 cells exposed to X-rays. When peptide inhibitors against caspase-3, -8, and -9 were utilized to evaluate the involvement of caspases, all inhibitors suppressed the enhancement of radiation-induced apoptosis, suggesting that not only mitochondria-mediated apoptotic signal transduction pathways but also death receptor-mediated pathways were involved in this enhancement of apoptosis. In addition, in the cells exposed to the treatment combining X-irradiation and 8-NH(2)-Ado, reduction of the intracellular ATP concentration was essential for survival, and down-regulation of the expression of antiapoptotic proteins such as survivin and XIAP was observed. These results indicate that 8-NH(2)-Ado has potential not only as an anti-tumor drug for leukemia and lymphoma but also as a radiosensitizing agent for solid tumors.

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