Ukr.Biochem.J. 2016; Volume 88, Issue 2, Mar-Apr, pp. 45-55


Effects of the combined arginase and canavanine treatment on leukemic cells in vitro and in vivo

O. I. Vovk1, O. I. Chen1,2, N. I. Igumentseva1, O. Yu. Senchuk1,
M. L. Barska1, N. O. Sybirna1,2, O. V. Stasyk1

 1Institute of Cell Biology, National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine, Lviv;
2Ivan Franko National University of Lviv, Ukraine;

It was previously demonstrated in in vitro experiments that canavanine (Cav), a natural toxic arginine analogue of plant origin, is a promising candidate for augmenting the antineoplastic effects of arginine starvation. We demonstrated herein that recombinant human arginase, an arginine degrading enzyme, abrogated growth and significantly increased Cav cytotoxicity toward cultured L1210 murine leukemic cells. Cav co-treatment further reduced cells viability in a time-dependent manner and significantly promoted apoptosis induction. In the pilot study we also evaluated for the first time the potential toxicity of the combined arginine deprivation and Cav treatment in healthy mice. Administration of Cav alone or in combination with pegylated cobalt-containing human arginase (Co-hARG) did not evoke any apparent toxic effects in these animals, with no significant behavioural and survival changes after several weeks of the treatment. The therapeutic effects of the combination of Co-hARG and Cav were provisionally evaluated on the highly aggressive murine L1210 leukemia, which is semi-sensitive to arginine deprivation as a monotreatment. Combination of two drugs did not result in significant prolongation of the survival of leukemia-bearing mice. Thus, we have shown that the proposed combinational treatment is rather non-toxic for the animals. It has to be further evaluated in animal studies with alternative tumor models and/or drug doses and treatment modalities.

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