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Cell Death Dis. 2012 Mar 15;3:e284. doi: 10.1038/cddis.2012.24.

FTS and 2-DG induce pancreatic cancer cell death and tumor shrinkage in mice.

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Department of Neurobiology, George S Wise Faculty of Life Sciences, Tel Aviv University, Tel Aviv, Israel.


The Ras inhibitor S-trans-trans farnesylthiosalicylic acid (FTS) inhibits active Ras, which controls cell proliferation, differentiation, survival, and metabolism. FTS also inhibits HIF1α expression in cancer cells, leading to an energy crisis. The synthetic glucose analog 2-deoxy-D-glucose (2-DG), which inhibits glycolysis, is selectively directed to tumor cells that exhibit increased glucose consumption. The 2-DG enters tumor cells, where it competes with glucose for glycolytic enzymes. In cancer models, as well as in human phase 1 trials, 2-DG inhibits tumor growth without toxicity. We postulated that under normoxic conditions, tumor cells treated with FTS would be more sensitive than normal cells to 2-DG. We show here that combined treatment with FTS and 2-DG inhibited cancer cell proliferation additively, yet induced apoptotic cell death synergistically both in vitro and in vivo. The induced apoptosis was inferred from QVD-OPH inhibition, an increase in cleaved caspase 3, and loss of survivin. FTS and 2-DG when combined, but not separately, also induced an increase in fibrosis of the tumor tissue, chronic inflammation, and tumor shrinkage. Overall, these results suggest a possible new treatment of pancreatic tumors by the combined administration of FTS and 2-DG, which together induce pancreatic tumor cell death and tumor shrinkage under non-toxic conditions.

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