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Anticancer Drugs. 1997 Feb;8(2):164-73.

Enhancement of etoposide (VP-16) cytotoxicity by enzymatic and photodynamically induced oxidative stress.

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Department of Nuclear Medicine and Radiobiology, Faculty of Medicine, University of Sherbrooke, Quebec, Canada.


The effects of glutathione (GSH) depletion by buthionine sulfoximane (BSO) or by photosensitization-induced oxidative stress using metallo-phthalocyanines (MePcS4) on etoposide (VP-16) cytotoxicity against K562 human leukemic cells were investigated. Both treatments enhanced VP-16 toxicity in a markedly synergistic way, as revealed by combination index analysis procedure. Synergistic drug interactions were accompanied by a supra-additive induction of DNA strand breaks. The proposed role of intracellular GSH in preventing metabolic transformations of VP-16 and thus decreasing its toxicity was confirmed by electron spin resonance (ESR) monitoring of the accumulation of the VP-16 phenoxyl radical in cell cytoplasm subjected to GSH depletion. Taken together the results emphasize the beneficial effect of GSH-related oxidative stress in enhancement of etoposide toxicity and possibly in its anticancer applications.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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