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Invest New Drugs. 2011 Dec;29(6):1314-20. doi: 10.1007/s10637-010-9489-0. Epub 2010 Jul 13.

Pankiller effect of prolonged exposure to menadione on glioma cells: potentiation by vitamin C.

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Department of Clinical Neuroscience R54, Karolinska Institute, Karolinska University Hospital, Sweden Hospital, 141 86, Huddinge, Stockholm, Sweden.


Menadione (Vitamin K3) has anti-tumoral effects against a wide range of cancer cells. Its potential toxicity to normal cells and narrow therapeutic range limit its use as single agent but in combination with radiation or other anti-neoplastic agents can be of therapeutic use. In this paper, we first evaluated the early (within 3 h) effect of menadione on ongoing DNA replication. In normal rat cerebral cortex mini-units menadione showed an age dependent anti-proliferative effect. In tissue mini-units prepared from newborn rats, menadione inhibited ongoing DNA replication with an IC (50) of approximately 10 μM but 50 μM had no effect on mini-units from prepared adult rat tissue. The effect of short (72 h) and prolonged exposure (1-2 weeks) to menadione alone in the DBTRG.05MG human glioma cells line and in combination with vitamin C was studied. After short period of exposure data show that menadione alone or in combination with vitamin C provided similar concentration-response curves (and IC(50) values). Prolonged exposure to these drugs was evaluated by their ability to kill 100% of glioma cells and prevent regrowth when cells are re-incubated in drug-free media. In this long-term assay, menadione:vitamin C at a ratio 1:100 showed higher anti-proliferative activity when compared to each drug alone and allowed to reduce each drug concentration between 2.5 to 5-fold. Similar anti-proliferative effect was demonstrated in 8 patient derived glioblastoma cell cultures. Our data should be able to encourage further advanced studies on animal models to evaluate the potential use of this combination therapy for glioma treatment.

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