N-methylformamide as a potential therapeutic approach in colon cancer

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The effect ofN-methylformamide, used in combination with the antineoplastic drugs adriamycin and cisplatin, on the cell survival of a colon carcinoma cell line (HT-29) was investigated. To better understand the mechanism involved inN-methylformamide-mediated chemosensitization, we evaluated theN-methylformamide effect on cell volume and surface expression of some integrins molecules (VLA2, VLA5, and VLA6) of the HT-29 cell line.


The cell survival was evaluated by clonogenic assay; integrins surface expression was analyzed by means of flow cytometry; cell volumes were determined using a Coulter Channalyzer.


A Noncytotoxic dose ofN-methylformamide (170 mM) sensitizes the HT-29 cell line to the lethal activity of both adriamycin and cisplatin. The analysis of cell volume showed thatN-methylformamide exposure induces an increase in cell volume. Flow cytometric analysis of VLA2, VLA5, and VLA6 receptors showed thatN-methylformamide increases the expression of the three integrins by 30 to 40 percent.


The plasma membrane could constitute one of theN-methylformamide targets and might be involved in the differentiation and chemosensitizing effects caused by this agent. Moreover,N-methylformamide could improve colon cancer treatment when used in combination with antineoplastic drugs.

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