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Cancer Lett. 2010 Dec 8;298(2):186-94. doi: 10.1016/j.canlet.2010.07.003. Epub 2010 Jul 27.

N-Acetylcysteine interacts with copper to generate hydrogen peroxide and selectively induce cancer cell death.

Author information

1
Department of Pathology, University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center, USA.

Abstract

A variety of metal-binding compounds have been found to exert anti-cancer activity. We postulated that N-acetylcysteine (NAC), which is a membrane-permeable metal-binding compound, might have anti-cancer activity in the presence of metals. We found that NAC/Cu(II) significantly alters growth and induces apoptosis in human cancer lines, yet NAC/Zn(II) and NAC/Fe(III) do not. We further confirmed that this cytotoxicity of NAC/Cu(II) is attributed to reactive oxygen species (ROS). These findings indicate that the combination of Cu(II) and thiols generates cytotoxic ROS that induce apoptosis in cancer cells. They also indicate a fourth class of anti-neoplastic metal-binding compounds, the "ROS generators".

PMID:
20667650
PMCID:
PMC3881362
DOI:
10.1016/j.canlet.2010.07.003
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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