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Cancer Lett. 2008 Feb 18;260(1-2):96-108. Epub 2007 Nov 26.

Role of the Nrf2-antioxidant system in cytotoxicity mediated by anticancer cisplatin: implication to cancer cell resistance.

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College of Pharmacy, Yeungnam University, Gyeongsangbuk-do, South Korea.


The treatment of alkylating cytotoxic drug cisplatin is often limited by high incidence rate of resistance. In the present study, the potential involvement of the transcription factor Nrf2 in determination of cisplatin cytotoxicity has been investigated. Nrf2-deficient murine embryonic fibroblasts showed increased cell death, cytotoxicity, and apoptosis in response to cisplatin treatment compared to wild-type cells. Cisplatin-resistant human ovarian cancer SK-OV cells, which are retaining 25-fold higher levels of GSH than murine fibroblasts, could be sensitized by inhibition of Nrf2. Transfection with Nrf2 siRNA into SK-OV cells resulted in severe degree of GSH depletion and exacerbated cytotoxicity following cisplatin treatment compared to scrambled RNA control. In conclusion, we propose that the Nrf2 pathway, which plays a protective role in normal cells, can be a potential target to control cancer cell resistance to oxidants, cytotoxic chemicals, and radiation.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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