We have previously reported that inhibition of polyamine biosynthesis with α-difluoromethylornithine (DFMO) reduces pulmonary metastasis from MDA-MB-435 human breast cancer xenografts without affecting the volume of the primary tumors (Manni et al. Clin Exp Mets 20:321, 2003). In these experiments, we show that DFMO treatment (2% in drinking H2O) reduced the growth fraction of the primary tumors by 60%. However, this effect was counter-balanced by a similar reduction in non-apoptotic necrosis, thus accounting for the preservation of tumor volume in DFMO-treated mice. DFMO treatment caused a 4-fold increase in cytoplasmic staining for cleaved caspase-3 (as opposed to the nuclear staining observed in control tonsil tissue) in the absence of histologic evidence of apoptosis. DFMO treatment reduced the number of mice with pulmonary metastasis by 80% and the number of metastasis per mouse by 90% in association with a reduction in invasiveness of the primary tumor in the surrounding dermis and muscle by 30%. DFMO treatment increased ERK phosphorylation in the tumors, an effect that has been found by us in vitro to be causally linked to the anti-invasive effect of the drug (Manni et al. Clin Exp Metast 2004; 21: 461]. DFMO also increased tyrosine phosphorylation of STAT-3 and expression of STAT-1 and JNK proteins. Administration of SAM486A (1 mg/kg/ip daily), an inhibitor of S-adenosylmethionine decarboxylase, either individually or in combination with DFMO, was not found to exert any biological or biochemical effects, most likely as a result of its failure to suppress tissue polyamine levels under these experimental conditions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)255-263
Number of pages9
JournalClinical and Experimental Metastasis
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jan 2005

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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