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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1986 Dec;83(23):8923-5.

Biochemical basis for cisplatin and 5-fluorouracil synergism in human ovarian carcinoma cells.


The human ovarian cell line A2780 was exposed to either cisplatin (10 microM) or 5-fluorouracil (5FUra) (5 microM) for 1 hr. Cytotoxicity was less than 14% with either agent alone. Cisplatin (10 microM) and 5FUra (5 microM) in combination for 1 hr caused a 76% reduction in cell growth. Thymidine (dThd, 10 microM), if given concomitantly with the combination of cisplatin and 5FUra, completely protected the tumor cells. A 30-min exposure to cisplatin increased the intracellular pools of 5,10-methylenetetrahydrofolate and tetrahydrofolate 2.5-fold. The capacity of intact cells to form 5-fluorodeoxyuridylate (FdUMP)-thymidylate (dTMP) synthase complex when incubated with fluorodeoxyuridine (FdUrd) was enhanced 2.5-fold when the cells were pretreated with cisplatin. These experiments demonstrate that cisplatin can increase the availability of the reduced folate necessary for tight binding of FdUMP to dTMP synthase, thus enhancing the cytotoxicity of the cisplatin and 5FUra combination.

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