Estramustine (EM), a complex between estradiol-17 beta and nornitrogen mustard, is commonly used in the treatment of prostatic cancer. The exact mechanism of action is unknown but has previously been considered to be mediated through non-DNA targets, specifically with the mitotic spindle, and to be related to the intact EM complex. In the present study, using different cell-systems (monocyte phagocytosis transformed fibroblasts, colon cancer cells), the EM cytotoxicity was also found to involve direct interaxtion with DNA and cell membranes. The interaction with DNA was shown by a DNA precipitation assay using 3H- and 14C- thymidine, and the cell membrane damage by using 86Rb- accumulation as a sensitive marker for active potassium uptake. EM effects in the fibroblasts were inhibited by various metal chelators and radical scavengers. Involvement of free oxygen radicals was further indicated in a cell-free system with an oxygen electrode. The EM inhibition of monocyte phagocytosis was related to the engulfment, and was not at all influenced by radical scavengers. In contrast to EM, neither of its components alone, or together, affected monocyte engulfment. Finally, it was shown that the colon cancer cell-line HT-29 was resistant to both of the two suggested and separate mechanisms for EM toxicity: an interaction with the microtubuli system by the intact EM complex and a more unspecific action mediated by free-oxygen radicals.
MEDICIN OCH HÄLSOVETENSKAP -- Klinisk medicin -- Cancer och onkologi (hsv//swe)
MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES -- Clinical Medicine -- Cancer and Oncology (hsv//eng)