Development of Gallium Compounds for Treatment of Lymphoma: Gallium Maltolate, a Novel Hydroxypyrone Gallium Compound, Induces Apoptosis and Circumvents Lymphoma Cell Resistance to Gallium Nitrate

Division of Neoplastic Diseases, Department of Medicine, Medical College of Wisconsin, 9200 West Wisconsin Avenue, Milwaukee, WI 53226, USA.
Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics (Impact Factor: 3.97). 10/2007; 322(3):1228-36. DOI: 10.1124/jpet.107.126342
Source: PubMed


Clinical studies have shown gallium nitrate to have significant antitumor activity against non-Hodgkin's lymphoma and bladder cancer, thus indicating that gallium-based drugs have potential for further development as antineoplastic agents. In this study, we compared the cytotoxicity of gallium maltolate, a novel gallium compound, with gallium nitrate in lymphoma cell lines, including p53 variant and unique gallium nitrate-resistant cells. We found that gallium maltolate inhibited cell proliferation and induced apoptosis through the mitochondrial pathway at lower concentrations and more rapidly than gallium nitrate. Gallium maltolate produced an increase in intracellular reactive oxygen species (ROS) within 2 h of incubation with cells; this effect could be blocked by mitoquinone, a mitochondria-targeted antioxidant. The role of the transferrin receptor (TfR) in gallium maltolate's action was examined using monoclonal antibody (MoAb) 42/6 to block TfR function. However, although MoAb 42/6 reduced gallium maltolate-induced caspase-3 activity, it had only a minor effect on cell growth inhibition. Importantly, gallium maltolate induced apoptosis in cells resistant to gallium nitrate, and, unlike gallium nitrate, its cytotoxicity was not affected by cellular p53 status. Cellular gallium uptake was greater with gallium maltolate than with gallium nitrate. We conclude that gallium maltolate inhibits cell proliferation and induces apoptosis more efficiently than gallium nitrate. Gallium maltolate is incorporated into lymphoma cells to a greater extent than gallium nitrate via both TfR-independent and -dependent pathways; it has significant activity against gallium nitrate-resistant cells and acts independently of p53. Further studies to evaluate its antineoplastic activity in vivo are warranted.

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