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Chem Res Toxicol. 2010 Aug 16;23(8):1307-9. doi: 10.1021/tx100187f.

Sensitization of non-small cell lung cancer cells to cisplatin by naturally occurring isothiocyanates.

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Department of Oncology, Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center, Georgetown University, 3800 Reservoir Road, Washington DC 20057, USA.


We show that naturally occurring isothiocyanates (ITCs) sensitize human non-small cell lung cancer cells to cisplatin. Moreover, the structure of the ITC side chain moiety is important for sensitization. In NCI-H596 cells, 20 microM benzyl isothiocyanate (BITC) and phenethyl isothiocyanate (PEITC) enhance the efficacy of various concentrations of cisplatin, but sulforaphane (SFN) does not. Reducing the concentration of BITC and PEITC to 10 microM still allows for the sensitization of cells to cisplatin. Neither cellular platinum accumulation nor DNA platination account for this increased cytotoxicity. BITC and PEITC deplete beta-tubulin, but SFN does not; this correlates with and may be important for sensitization.

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