Polyamine analogue induction of programmed cell death in human lung tumor cells

Diane E. McCloskey, Jianing Yang, Patrick M. Woster, Nancy E. Davidson, Robert A. Casero

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The naturally occurring polyamines putrescine, spermidine, and spermine are required for cell growth. Based on this requirement, several polyamine analogues that interfere with polyamine function and metabolism have been synthesized as antineoplastic agents. The symmetrically substituted N1,N12-bis(ethyl)spermine (BESpm), and unsymmetrically substituted N1-ethgl-N11-[(cyclopropyl)methyl] 4,8-diazaundecane (CPENSpm) have previously been shown to cause rapid cytotoxicity of NCI H157 cells, with concurrent high induction of the polyamine catabolic enzyme spermidine/spermine N1-acetyltransferase. However, the precise mechanism(s) of the cytotoxic action of the compounds is not known. We now demonstrate that treatment with either BESpm or CPENSpm results in morphological and biochemical changes consistent with the activation of programmed cell death pathways, and that the unsymmetrically substituted CPENSpm more rapidly activates the death program. These studies suggest that the cell type-specific cytotoxicity of these polyamine analogues may be a result of their ability to selectively activate the cell death pathway in sensitive phenotypes and indicate that the relationship between the structure of the polyamine analogues and the ability to induce programmed cell death should be investigated.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)441-446
Number of pages6
JournalClinical Cancer Research
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1996

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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