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J Natl Cancer Inst. 1987 Sep;79(3):543-8.

Treatment of hamster pancreatic cancer with alpha-difluoromethylornithine, an inhibitor of polyamine biosynthesis.


Polyamines are essential for cell division and growth. Inhibition of polyamine biosynthesis by alpha-difluoromethylornithine (DFMO) on the growth of hamster H2T pancreatic cancer was investigated both in vitro and in vivo. Cell-doubling time (TD) and survival fraction were determined after a single treatment with DFMO (5 mM). We examined the ability of putrescine to reverse the growth-inhibitory effect of DFMO. The TD for cells treated with DFMO in vitro was 49.6 +/- 5.7 versus 25.4 +/- 2.6 hours for control. The addition of putrescine to DFMO-treated H2T cells showed a reversal of the growth-inhibitory effect of DFMO. Cytotoxicity in vitro increased with prolonged treatment; the survival fraction after 24 hours of treatment was 32%; after 48 hours, 19%; after 72 hours, 13%; and after 92 hours, 8%. We performed two separate animal experiments. In experiment I, H2T cells were injected into the cheek pouch of male Syrian golden hamsters; controls did not receive DFMO. Continuous treatment with 3% DFMO in the drinking water was begun 7 days before, on the day of, or 7 days after tumor cell injection. In experiment II, 4 groups were treated identically to those in experiment I. An additional group of 10 hamsters received 3% DFMO and no tumor, and another additional group of 10 hamsters were housed individually with 3% DFMO begun 7 days after tumor cell injection. Tumor size, body weight, water, and food intake were measured. DFMO treatment in vivo significantly inhibited tumor size and inhibited growth of pancreatic cancer by as much as 50% of control. Our results demonstrate a significant antiproliferative effect of DFMO on the growth of pancreatic adenocarcinoma both in vitro and in vivo.

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