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Cytotoxic effect induced by combination of polyamines metabolites and endocannabinoid, anandamide, on human cancer cells: a new anticancer strategy

  • Ana Batista-de-Carvalho1, 2Email author,
  • Giampiero Tempera2,
  • Nikenza Viceconte2,
  • Stefania Saccoccio2,
  • Eris Bidollari2,
  • Mariana Nalli3,
  • Enrico Morera3,
  • Giorgio Ortar3 and
  • Enzo Agostinelli2
BMC Proceedings20104(Suppl 2):P31

Published: 24 September 2010


AldehydeIncubation TimeCancer TherapyHuman ColonAdenocarcinoma Cell
Polyamines are necessary for cell proliferation and are detected at higher concentrations in most tumor tissues. Bovine serum amine oxidase (BSAO) can generate in situ cytotoxic products such as H2O2 and aldehydes from oxidation of polyamines, as a new approach in cancer therapy [1]. The present results show that multidrug-resistant human colon adenocarcinoma cells (LoVo) are significantly more sensitive than corresponding wild-type cells to the cytotoxic products. Pre-treatment of the cells with anandamide (AEA) (Figure 1), an endocannabinoid which effect can be either central, in the brain, mediated by CB1 receptors, or peripheral in other organs and tissues where CB2 receptors are expressed, sensitized both cell lines to the subsequent exposure to spermine metabolites amplifying the ability of these products to induce cell death [2].

Figure 1

The sensitizing effect was also greater on multidrug-resistant cells than wild-type ones, an aspect of particular importance since conventional cancer therapy suffers from the development of drug resistance. Cell viability was determined using MTT assay [3]. Concentrations 0-100 µM of AEA were tested, for incubation times up to 24 h; and concentrations 0-8 µM of spermine in presence of BSAO were used, for incubation times up to 1 h.

Authors’ Affiliations

Department of Life Sciences and Molecular Physical-Chemistry R&D Unit, Faculty of Science and Technology, University of Coimbra, Coimbra, Portugal
Department of Biochemical Sciences, SAPIENZA University of Rome and CNR, Biology and Molecular Pathology Institutes, Rome, Italy
Department of Chemistry and Drug Technologies, SAPIENZA University of Rome and CNR, Rome, Italy


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© Batista-de-Carvalho et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd. 2010

This article is published under license to BioMed Central Ltd.