Purpose: Dichloroacetate (DCA) inhibits pyruvate dehydrogenase kinase (PDK), and thus promotes glucose oxidation over glycolysis and induces apoptotic death of tumor cells. The present study investigated the potential of DCA to increase the antitumor effects of platinum- based compounds against a panel of permanent cell lines, including small cell lung cancer (SCLC), ovarian cancer, and Ewing's sarcoma in vitro.
Methods: DCA at a concentration of 10 mM was combined with cisplatin, carboplatin, satraplatin, the satraplatin metabolite JM118, oxaliplatin, oxoplatin, and picoplatin, and the cytotoxic activity was evaluated in proliferation tests employing a panel of different cell lines. Additionally, cells were pretreated with DCA and then exposed to the platinum drugs and etoposide, or incubated with cisplatin or etoposide followed by application of DCA, respectively.
Results: DCA 10 mM significantly increased the cytotoxicity of the platinum-based drugs carboplatin, satraplatin, JM118, and oxoplatin, but not cisplatin, picoplatin, and oxaliplatin in vitro. Preincubation of cell lines with DCA 10 mM for three days reduced the antiproliferative activity of platinum-based agents in sequential application, but exposure of cells pretreated with cisplatin or etoposide to DCA resulted in minor sensitization. The inhibitory effect of DCA showed no correlation with sensitization to the platinum compounds.
Conclusion: DCA alone in a concentration that shows low antiproliferative activity is capable of increasing the cytotoxicity of selected platinum compounds upon coincubation, and such combinations may be interesting for clinical application in tumors like SCLC, Ewing's sarcoma, and ovarian cancer refractory to cisplatin chemotherapy as standard care. The mechanism of this synergistic effect of DCA in combination with specific platinum species remains to be investigated.
Keywords: apoptosis; cytotoxicity; dichloroacetate; glycolysis; platinum.