Buthionine sulfoximine (BSO) selectively inhibits glutathione (GSH) synthesis and has been used to sensitize tumor cells to alkylating agents, but has minimal single-agent cytotoxicity for most cell types. We determined the cytotoxicity of BSO for 18 (12 MYCN amplified; 6 MYCN nonamplified) human neuroblastoma cell lines using DIMSCAN, a digital image microscopy cytotoxicity assay. D-L(R:S) BSO was highly cytotoxic (>3 logs of cell kill) for most neuroblastoma cell lines, with 17/18 cell lines having IC90 values (range 2. 1->1000 microM) below equivalent steady state plasma levels of L(R:S) BSO reported in adult human trials. Cell lines with genomic amplification of MYCN were more sensitive to BSO than MYCN nonamplified cell lines (P = 0.04). D-L(R:S) BSO (500 microM for 72 h) induced apoptosis as detected by DNA laddering, nuclear morphology, and TUNEL staining of DNA fragments using flow cytometry. Maximal cell killing occurred within 48 h and was antagonized byic value in neuroblastoma.
Copyright 1999 Academic Press.