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Int J Oncol. 2012 Apr;40(4):1071-8. doi: 10.3892/ijo.2011.1313. Epub 2011 Dec 20.

Diethyldithiocarbamate induces apoptosis in HHV-8-infected primary effusion lymphoma cells via inhibition of the NF-κB pathway.

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Department of Molecular Medicine, Graduate School of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Global COE 'Cell Fate Regulation Research and Education Unit', Kumamoto University, 5-1 Oe-honmachi, Kumamoto 862-0973, Japan.


Primary effusion lymphoma (PEL) is a subtype of B-cell lymphoma caused by human herpes virus 8/Kaposi sarcoma-associated herpes virus (HHV-8/KSHV), which is mostly found in patients with AIDS and has poor prognosis. Nuclear factor (NF)-κB pathway is constitutively activated in HHV-8-infected PEL cells and plays a crucial role in tumorigenesis. Recently, it has been shown that diethyldithiocarbamate (DDTC), an active metabolite of disulfiram, has apoptotic activity in cancer cells. Here, we investigated the effect of DDTC on PEL using a PEL mouse model generated by intraperitoneal injection of BC-3 cells, a PEL cell line. DDTC ameliorated the symptoms of PEL in these mice, such as development of ascites, splenomegaly and increase of body weight, in comparison with PBS-treated controls. Moreover, we determined in vitro that DDTC suppressed the constitutively activated NF-κB pathway in BC-3 cells. Methylthiotetrazole assay revealed that the cell proliferation of various PEL cell lines was significantly suppressed by the treatment of DDTC. DDTC also induced the expression of cleaved caspase-3, an apoptosis marker, whereas the addition of Q-VD-OPh, a pan-caspase inhibitor, inhibited cell apoptosis induced by DDTC treatment. Together, our results indicated that DDTC induces apoptosis via inhibition of the NF-κB signaling pathway in HHV-8-infected PEL cells. This study suggests the potential use of DDTC as a therapeutic approach for PEL.

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