Low-dose naltrexone suppresses ovarian cancer and exhibits enhanced inhibition in combination with cisplatin

Renee N. Donahue, Patricia McLaughlin, Ian Zagon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

24 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Ovarian cancer is the leading cause of death from gynecological malignancies. Although initial therapeutic modalities are successful, 65% of these women relapse with only palliative treatments available thereafter. Endogenous opioids repress the proliferation of human ovarian cancer cells in vitro, and do so in a receptor-mediated manner. The present study examined whether modulation of opioid systems by the opioid antagonist naltrexone (NTX), alone or in combination with standard of care therapies (taxol/paclitaxel, cisplatin), alters human ovarian cancer cell proliferation in tissue culture and tumor progression in mice. Administration of NTX for six hours every two days, but not continuously, reduced DNA synthesis and cell replication from vehicle-treated controls in tissue culture. Moreover, brief exposure to NTX in combination with taxol or cisplatin had an enhanced anticancer action. Mice with established ovarian tumors and treated with a low dosage of NTX (LDN), which invokes a short period of opioid receptor blockade, repressed tumor progression in a non-toxic fashion by reducing DNA synthesis and angiogenesis but not altering cell survival. The combination of LDN with cisplatin, but not taxol, resulted in an additive inhibitory effect on tumorigenesis with enhanced depression of DNA synthesis and angiogenesis. LDN combined with cisplatin alleviated the toxicity (e.g. weight loss) associated with cisplatin. LDN treatment upregulated the expression of the opioid growth factor (OGF, chemical term ([Met5]-enkephalin) and its receptor, OGFr. Previous tissue culture studies have reported that OGF is the only opioid peptide with antiproliferative activity on ovarian cancer cells, with OGF action mediated by OGFr. Thus, the common denominator of intermittent opioid receptor blockade by short-term NTX or LDN on ovarian cancer proliferation and tumorigenesis recorded herein appears to be related to the OGF-OGFr axis. These preclinical data may offer a non-toxic and efficacious pathway-related treatment that can benefit patients with ovarian cancer.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)883-895
Number of pages13
JournalExperimental Biology and Medicine
Volume236
Issue number7
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 1 2011

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Naltrexone
Ovarian Neoplasms
Cisplatin
Paclitaxel
Tissue culture
Opioid Receptors
Opioid Analgesics
Tumors
Cells
DNA
Neoplasms
Carcinogenesis
Opioid Peptides
Narcotic Antagonists
Cell proliferation
Toxicity
Therapeutics
Standard of Care
Intercellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins
Palliative Care

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)

Cite this

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title = "Low-dose naltrexone suppresses ovarian cancer and exhibits enhanced inhibition in combination with cisplatin",
abstract = "Ovarian cancer is the leading cause of death from gynecological malignancies. Although initial therapeutic modalities are successful, 65{\%} of these women relapse with only palliative treatments available thereafter. Endogenous opioids repress the proliferation of human ovarian cancer cells in vitro, and do so in a receptor-mediated manner. The present study examined whether modulation of opioid systems by the opioid antagonist naltrexone (NTX), alone or in combination with standard of care therapies (taxol/paclitaxel, cisplatin), alters human ovarian cancer cell proliferation in tissue culture and tumor progression in mice. Administration of NTX for six hours every two days, but not continuously, reduced DNA synthesis and cell replication from vehicle-treated controls in tissue culture. Moreover, brief exposure to NTX in combination with taxol or cisplatin had an enhanced anticancer action. Mice with established ovarian tumors and treated with a low dosage of NTX (LDN), which invokes a short period of opioid receptor blockade, repressed tumor progression in a non-toxic fashion by reducing DNA synthesis and angiogenesis but not altering cell survival. The combination of LDN with cisplatin, but not taxol, resulted in an additive inhibitory effect on tumorigenesis with enhanced depression of DNA synthesis and angiogenesis. LDN combined with cisplatin alleviated the toxicity (e.g. weight loss) associated with cisplatin. LDN treatment upregulated the expression of the opioid growth factor (OGF, chemical term ([Met5]-enkephalin) and its receptor, OGFr. Previous tissue culture studies have reported that OGF is the only opioid peptide with antiproliferative activity on ovarian cancer cells, with OGF action mediated by OGFr. Thus, the common denominator of intermittent opioid receptor blockade by short-term NTX or LDN on ovarian cancer proliferation and tumorigenesis recorded herein appears to be related to the OGF-OGFr axis. These preclinical data may offer a non-toxic and efficacious pathway-related treatment that can benefit patients with ovarian cancer.",
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Low-dose naltrexone suppresses ovarian cancer and exhibits enhanced inhibition in combination with cisplatin. / Donahue, Renee N.; McLaughlin, Patricia; Zagon, Ian.

In: Experimental Biology and Medicine, Vol. 236, No. 7, 01.07.2011, p. 883-895.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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AB - Ovarian cancer is the leading cause of death from gynecological malignancies. Although initial therapeutic modalities are successful, 65% of these women relapse with only palliative treatments available thereafter. Endogenous opioids repress the proliferation of human ovarian cancer cells in vitro, and do so in a receptor-mediated manner. The present study examined whether modulation of opioid systems by the opioid antagonist naltrexone (NTX), alone or in combination with standard of care therapies (taxol/paclitaxel, cisplatin), alters human ovarian cancer cell proliferation in tissue culture and tumor progression in mice. Administration of NTX for six hours every two days, but not continuously, reduced DNA synthesis and cell replication from vehicle-treated controls in tissue culture. Moreover, brief exposure to NTX in combination with taxol or cisplatin had an enhanced anticancer action. Mice with established ovarian tumors and treated with a low dosage of NTX (LDN), which invokes a short period of opioid receptor blockade, repressed tumor progression in a non-toxic fashion by reducing DNA synthesis and angiogenesis but not altering cell survival. The combination of LDN with cisplatin, but not taxol, resulted in an additive inhibitory effect on tumorigenesis with enhanced depression of DNA synthesis and angiogenesis. LDN combined with cisplatin alleviated the toxicity (e.g. weight loss) associated with cisplatin. LDN treatment upregulated the expression of the opioid growth factor (OGF, chemical term ([Met5]-enkephalin) and its receptor, OGFr. Previous tissue culture studies have reported that OGF is the only opioid peptide with antiproliferative activity on ovarian cancer cells, with OGF action mediated by OGFr. Thus, the common denominator of intermittent opioid receptor blockade by short-term NTX or LDN on ovarian cancer proliferation and tumorigenesis recorded herein appears to be related to the OGF-OGFr axis. These preclinical data may offer a non-toxic and efficacious pathway-related treatment that can benefit patients with ovarian cancer.

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