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Int J Cancer. 1995 Jan 17;60(2):249-54.

Tumor resistance to oxidative stress: association with ras oncogene expression and reversal by lovastatin, an inhibitor of p21ras isoprenylation.

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Armed Forces Radiobiology Research Institute, Radiation Biochemistry Department, Bethesda, MD 20889.


The ras oncogene family has been implicated in tumor resistance to ionizing radiotherapy. Using the gene-transfer model, we show here that ras expression may also affect cell responses to chemical inducers of oxidative stress. Studies involving human osteosarcoma subclones, which vary in their levels of EJras expression, revealed a tight correlation between the amounts of ras-encoded mRNA and p21 produced, and the degree of resistance to doxorubicin or hydrogen peroxide. Differences in response could not be explained by increased activity of anti-oxidant enzymes such as superoxide dismutase, glutathione reductase, glutathione S-transferase or glutathione peroxidase. Moreover, there were no significant differences in glutathione levels. Although the resistant cells had elevated levels of gamma-glutamyl-transferase mRNA indicative of an increased rate of glutathione turnover, this elevation was not specific for ras-transfected cell lines. Lovastatin, an inhibitor of protein isoprenylation critical for p21ras membrane association and function, restored the sensitivity of ras-transformed cells to doxorubicin and hydrogen peroxide. The data indicate that pharmacological agents affecting ras expression may enhance responses of some human tumors to free-radical-mediated chemotherapies.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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