All-trans retinoic acid (ATRA) has been previously shown to inhibit the proliferation of some human ovarian carcinoma cell lines, and this inhibition was accompanied by cellular changes that were indicative of differentiation (Caliaro et al, 1994). In this work, a pretreatment of these adenocarcinoma cells with ATRA, for their respective doubling time, enhanced cisplatin (CDDP) cytotoxicity in the cell ines that were sensitive to its antiproliferative effect, but not in the ATRA-resistant ones. Results were assessed using median effect analysis in two ATRA-sensitive cell lines (OVCCR1 and NIHOVCAR3 cells) and in one ATRA-insensitive cell line (IGROV1 cells). Synergy between these two agents was observed only in cells sensitive to ATRA, regardless of their relative sensitivity to CDDP. Potential mechanisms for this synergy were investigated. ATRA did not increase the cellular platinum content, did not decrease the cellular glutathione and had no influence on the metallothionein IIA mRNA levels in NIHOVCAR3 cells. Moreover, the protein kinase C (PKC) activity was modulated by this differentiating agent in all cell lines tested, indicating that this activity was not directly involved in this potentiation. However, an ATRA inhibition of glutathione-S-transferase activity associated with an increase in the total DNA adducts formation could explain the potentiation of the CDDP cytotoxicity observed in NIHOVCAR3 cells. Finally, the ATRA modulation of the epidermal growth factor (EGF) receptor mRNA level could also be implicated in this synergy.
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Caliaro, M., Vitaux, P., Lafon, C. et al. Multifactorial mechanism for the potentiation of cisplatin (CDDP) cytotoxicity by all-trans retinoic acid (ATRA) in human ovarian carcinoma cell lines. Br J Cancer 75, 333–340 (1997). https://doi.org/10.1038/bjc.1997.55
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