Synergism between 5-fluorouracil and N-methylformamide in HT29 human colon cancer line

N. Laudonio, G. Zupi, E. Erba, C. Leonetti, M. D'Incalci

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In HT29 cells 5-fluorouracil (5FU) cytotoxicity is enhanced by subsequent incubation of cells in medium containing 1% N-methylformamide (NMF). This enhancement does not appear to be related to differences in the repair of 5FU-induced DNA damage. It is proposed that the inhibition of DNA synthesis by NMF (that is reversible and does not result in any detectable toxicity) becomes a lethal event in a cell in which DNA synthesis has already been altered by 5FU exposure. The synergism is sequence dependent (i.e. it does not occur when NMF is given before 5FU) and specific for some cell types as shown by the fact that no synergism was found in L1210 mouse leukaemia cells. In nude mice transplanted s.c. with HT29 cells daily 5FU treatment (for 5 days) followed by daily NMF treatment (for 10 days) caused much greater inhibition of tumour growth than either drug alone or the same combination given in the opposite order (NMF then 5FU). These results, if confirmed on other human colon tumours, could be of clinical interest as a means of increasing the therapeutic efficacy of 5FU in patients with colon cancer.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)377-381
Number of pages5
JournalBritish Journal of Cancer
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1990

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cancer Research
  • Oncology


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