Selective killing of oncogenically transformed cells through a ROS-mediated mechanism by beta-phenylethyl isothiocyanate.

Department of Molecular Pathology, The University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, Texas 77030, USA.
Cancer Cell (Impact Factor: 23.89). 10/2006; 10(3):241-52. DOI: 10.1016/j.ccr.2006.08.009
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Reactive oxygen species (ROS) stimulate cell proliferation and induce genetic instability, and their increase in cancer cells is often viewed as an adverse event. Here, we show that such abnormal increases in ROS can be exploited to selectively kill cancer cells using beta-phenylethyl isothiocyanate (PEITC). Oncogenic transformation of ovarian epithelial cells with H-Ras(V12) or expression of Bcr-Abl in hematopoietic cells causes elevated ROS generation and renders the malignant cells highly sensitive to PEITC, which effectively disables the glutathione antioxidant system and causes severe ROS accumulation preferentially in the transformed cells due to their active ROS output. Excessive ROS causes oxidative mitochondrial damage, inactivation of redox-sensitive molecules, and massive cell death. In vivo, PEITC exhibits therapeutic activity and prolongs animal survival.

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