Background: The most commonly used antineoplastic drugs are more cytotoxic toward normally oxygenated tumor cells than toward hypoxic tumor cells.
Purpose and methods: To examine the ability of SR-4233, a new cytotoxic agent, to overcome the resistance of hypoxic tumor cells to antitumor alkylating agents, we tested the cytotoxic effect of SR-4233 alone and in combination with varying doses of cisplatin (CDDP), cyclophosphamide (CPM), carmustine (BCNU), or melphalan (L-PAM) on tumor cells and bone marrow cells isolated from C3H/FeJ mice bearing the FSaIIC fibrosarcoma.
Results: When SR-4233 alone was given, tumor cell killing was limited. When SR-4233 was administered just before single-dose treatment with CDDP, CPM, BCNU, or L-PAM, however, marked dose enhancement leading to increased cytotoxic effects on tumor cells and on bone marrow cells was observed. Similar experiments with tumor cell subpopulations, selected by Hoechst 33342 dye diffusion, confirmed that while cytotoxicity to both bright (oxygenated) and dim (hypoxic) cells was increased by combining each alkylating agent with SR-4233, the enhancement of the effect was relatively greater in the subpopulation of dim cells. The delay in the growth of tumors in animals treated with the combination of SR-4233 and CDDP, CPM, or L-PAM was 1.6-fold to 5.3-fold greater than that in animals treated with each alkylating agent alone.
Conclusion: Our results suggest that SR-4233 may have the potential to improve the clinical efficacy of commonly used antitumor alkylating agents.