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Cancer Chemother Pharmacol. 1992;31(2):151-5.

Nitric oxide: its production in host-cell-infiltrated EMT6 spheroids and its role in tumour cell killing by flavone-8-acetic acid and 5,6-dimethylxanthenone-4-acetic acid.

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Cancer Research Laboratory, University of Auckland School of Medicine, New Zealand.


Flavone-8-acetic acid (FAA) and its more dose-potent analogue 5,6-dimethylxanthenone-4-acetic acid (5,6-MeXAA), appear to exert their antitumor effects through vascular and other host-mediated mechanisms and are known to induce the synthesis of nitric oxide by murine macrophages. We investigated the role of nitric oxide in the cytotoxic effects of these drugs in host-cell-infiltrated spheroids. EMT6 murine mammary adenocarcinoma cells were grown in culture to produce multicellular spheroids in vitro spheroids), which were then inoculated i.p. into mice. After 6 days the spheroids were removed ex vivo spheroids). Exposure to FAA (890 microM) and 5,6-MeXAA (80 microM) in vitro for 20 h increased nitrite concentrations to 6.7 and 9.7 nmol/spheroid, respectively, as compared with 0.7 nmol/spheroid in the absence of drug. FAA and 5,6-MeXAA did not increase nitrite production in in vitro spheroids in cells obtained by peritoneal lavage. However, mixed cultures of in vitro spheroids and peritoneal cells treated with 5,6-MeXAA produced nitrite (2.4 nmol/spheroid), indicating that interactions between host cells and tumour cells were important for induction. The effects of these drugs on ex vivo spheroids were prevented by co-incubation with NG-monomethyl-L-arginine, indicating that nitrite originated from the oxidation of L-arginine to nitric oxide. Cell sorting of disaggregated spheroids into EMT6 cells and Mac-1-positive macrophage populations indicated that both of these cell populations could be induced to synthesise nitric oxide by subsequent incubation with 5,6-MeXAA. Incubation of ex vivo spheroids with FAA and 5,6-MeXAA decreased the clonogenicity of EMT6 cells, and this effect was wholly (FAA) or partially (5,6-MeXAA) reversed by the presence of NG-monomethylarginine (250 microM). FAA and 5,6-MeXAA may therefore exert some of their cytotoxic effects on tumour cells through the production of nitric oxide.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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