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2-Deoxy-D-glucose preferentially kills multidrug-resistant human KB carcinoma cell lines by apoptosis


The aim of this study was to determine the mechanism of cell death associated with the preferential killing of multidrug-resistant (MDR) cells by the glycolytic inhibitor 2-deoxy-D-glucose (2DG) in a range of MDR human KB carcinoma cell lines selected in different drugs. The D10 values for KB-V1, KB-C1 and KB-A1 (selected in vinblastine, colchicine and doxorubicin respectively) were 1.74, 1.04 and 0.31 mM, respectively, compared with 4.60 mM for the parental cell line (KB-3-1). The mechanism of cell death was identified as apoptosis, based on nuclear morphology, annexin V binding and poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase (PARP) cleavage. 2DG induced apoptosis in the three MDR cell lines in a dose- and time-dependent manner and did not induce necrosis. PARP cleavage was detected in KB-C1 cells within 2 h of exposure to 50 mM 2DG and slightly later in KB-A1 and KB-V1 cells. The relative levels of 2DG sensitivity did not correlate with the levels of multidrug resistance or with the reduced levels of the glucose transporter GLUT-1 in these cells. We speculate that a 2DG-stimulated apoptotic pathway in MDR KB cells differs from that in normal KB cells.

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Bell, S., Quinn, D., Kellett, G. et al. 2-Deoxy-D-glucose preferentially kills multidrug-resistant human KB carcinoma cell lines by apoptosis. Br J Cancer 78, 1464–1470 (1998).

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