N-ω-chloroacetyl-L-ornithine has in-vitro activity against cancer cell lines and in-vivo activity against ascitic and solid tumors

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N-ω-chloroacetyl-L-ornithine (NCAO) is an ornithine decarboxylase (ODC) inhibitor that is known to exert cytotoxic and antiproliferative effects on three neoplastic human cancer cell lines (HeLa, MCF-7, and HepG2). Here, we show that NCAO has antiproliferative activity in 13 cancer cell lines, of diverse tissue origin from human and mice, and in a mouse cancer model in vivo. All cell lines were sensitive to NCAO after 72 h of treatment (the EC50 ranged from 1 to 50.6 µmol/l). The Ca Ski cell line was the most sensitive (EC50=1.18±0.07 µmol/l) and MDA-MB-231 was the least sensitive (EC50=50.6±0.3 µmol/l). This ODC inhibitor showed selectivity for cancer cells, exerting almost no cytotoxic effect on the normal Vero cell line (EC50>1000 µmol/l). NCAO induced apoptosis and inhibited tumor cell migration in vitro. Furthermore, in vivo, this compound (at 50 and 100 mg/kg, daily intraperitoneal injection for 7 days) exerted potent antitumor activity against both solid and ascitic tumors in a mouse model using the myeloma (Ag8) cell line. At these same two doses, the toxicological evaluation showed that NCAO has no obvious systemic toxicity. The current results suggest that the antitumor activity is exerted by apoptosis related not only to a local but also a systemic cytotoxic effect exerted by NCAO on tumor cells. The applications for NCAO as an antitumor agent may be extensive; however, further studies are needed to ascertain the antitumor activity on other types of tumor in vivo and to determine the precise molecular mechanism of its activity.

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