Synergistic interaction between platinum-based antitumor agents and demethylcantharidin

Cancer Lett. 2005 Jun 8;223(2):227-37. doi: 10.1016/j.canlet.2004.10.036. Epub 2004 Dec 8.


A novel series of TCM-platinum complexes [Pt(C8H8O5)(NH2R)2] 1-5, designed from incorporating demethylcantharidin, a modified component from a traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) with a platinum moiety was found to circumvent cisplatin resistance in mouse leukemia and human hepatocellular carcinoma. These properties are most likely due to the inclusion of the protein phosphatase 2A (PP2A)-inhibiting demethylcantharidin in the novel compounds. We have investigated the potential synergistic effect of combining demethylcantharidin with a platinum-based antitumor agent, such as cisplatin, carboplatin, or oxaliplatin in vitro against L1210 mouse leukemia and SK-Hep-1 human hepatocellular carcinoma, and in vivo against a SK-Hep-1 subcutaneous-inoculated xenograft in nude mice, using median effect analysis. Demethylcantharidin and the platinum antitumor agents were synergistic in all cell lines tested in vitro, and the most effective antiproliferative regimen was when demethylcantharidin was added 24 h before cisplatin. Synergistic antitumor activity was also demonstrated in vivo without undue toxicity; no excessive loss in mouse body weight or overt pathology were observed at the effective doses. The results support a new approach for augmenting cytotoxic effect of established Pt-based drugs with demethylcantharidin in treating human hepatocellular carcinoma and other solid tumors.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antineoplastic Agents, Phytogenic / pharmacology*
  • Apoptosis
  • Body Weight
  • Cantharidin / analogs & derivatives*
  • Cantharidin / pharmacology*
  • Carboplatin / pharmacology*
  • Carcinoma, Hepatocellular / pathology
  • Cisplatin / pharmacology*
  • Drug Interactions
  • Humans
  • Leukemia / pathology
  • Liver Neoplasms / pathology
  • Mice
  • Mice, Nude
  • Organoplatinum Compounds / pharmacology*
  • Oxaliplatin
  • Tumor Cells, Cultured / pathology


  • Antineoplastic Agents, Phytogenic
  • Organoplatinum Compounds
  • demethylcantharidin
  • Oxaliplatin
  • Carboplatin
  • Cantharidin
  • Cisplatin