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Br J Cancer. 2012 Oct 23;107(9):1488-97. doi: 10.1038/bjc.2012.442. Epub 2012 Oct 2.

Cytotoxic effect of disulfiram/copper on human glioblastoma cell lines and ALDH-positive cancer-stem-like cells.

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1
Research Institute in Healthcare Science, School of Applied Sciences, University of Wolverhampton, Wolverhampton, UK.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) cells are resistant to anticancer drugs. Cancer stem cells (CSCs) are a key mediator of chemoresistance. We have reported that disulfiram (DS), an aldehyde dehydrogenase (ALDH) inhibitor, targets breast CSC-like cells. In this study, the effect of DS and combination of DS and gemcitabine (dFdC) on GBM cells and GBM stem-like cells was investigated.

METHODS:

1-(4,5-Dimethylthiazol-2-yl)-3,5-diphenylformazan (MTT), combination index (CI)-isobologram, western blot, luciferase reporter gene assay, electrophoretic mobility-shift assay and ALDH analysis were used in this study.

RESULTS:

Disulfiram is cytotoxic in GBM cell lines in a copper (Cu)-dependent manner. Disulfiram/copper enhances the cytotoxicity of dFdC. Combination index-isobologram analysis indicates a synergistic effect between DS/Cu and dFdC. Disulfiram/copper induces reactive oxygen species (ROS), activates JNK and p38 pathways and inhibits nuclear factor-kappa B activity in GBM cell lines. Disulfiram/copper may trigger intrinsic apoptotic pathway via modulation of the Bcl2 family. Disulfiram/copper abolishes stem-like cell population in GBM cell lines.

CONCLUSION:

Our findings indicate that the cytotoxicity of DS/Cu and the enhancing effect of DS/Cu on the cytotoxicity of dFdC in GBM stem-like cells may be caused by induction of ROS and inhibition of both ALDH and the NFkB pathway. Both DS and dFdC can traverse the blood-brain barrier. Further study may lead them into GBM chemotherapy.

PMID:
23033007
PMCID:
PMC3493777
DOI:
10.1038/bjc.2012.442
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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