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Br J Cancer. 1992 Mar;65(3):388-92.

In vitro effects of substance P analogue [D-Arg1, D-Phe5, D-Trp7,9, Leu11] substance P on human tumour and normal cell growth.

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Section of Medicine, Royal Marsden Hospital, Belmont, Surrey, UK.


Analogues of the neurotransmitter substance P (SP) can interact with neuropeptide receptors, and are reported to inhibit growth of small cell lung cancer cell lines (SCLC CLs). We found [D-Arg1, D-Phe5, D-Trp7,9, Leu11] substance P (D-Phe5SP) significantly inhibited DNA synthesis by 10/10 human tumour CLs; six SCLC, one N-SCLC (squamous), two ovarian and one squamous cervical carcinoma, with inhibition to 50% control levels (IC50) of 20-50 microM. There was dose dependent inhibition of colony forming efficiency (CFE) in 3/3 SCLC and 1/1 N-SCLC CL, IC50s of 0.5-6.5 microM in 5% serum. Exposure of SCLC CL HC12 to 100 microM D-Phe5SP for 1-4 h caused a progressive fall in viable cell number; surviving cells, grown in the absence of peptide, showed a decreased growth rate. During 1 week's exposure of two SCLC CLs to 20 microM D-Ph5SP, growth was slower than control cultures, while 50-100 microM completely inhibited growth. These inhibitory effects were partially reversed by increasing serum concentration from 5 to 20%, but not by SP, vasopressin, bombesin or insulin-like growth factor 1. There was some inhibition of CFE by 3/3 normal human bone marrows, IC50s of 30-80 microM, compared with 8 microM for HC12 in 20% FCS. Therefore D-Phe5SP appears to have more potent antiproliferative effects in tumour cells than normal cells, suggesting a role for this analogue in tumour treatment.

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