Anchorage Dependency Effects on Difluoromethylornithine Cytotoxicity in Human Lung Carcinoma Cells1

Gordon D. Luli, Stephen B. Baylin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Difluoromethylornithine (DFMO), a specific, irreversible, enzymeactivated inhibitor of ornithine decarboxylase activity, the first and ratelimiting step in polyamine biosynthesis, has been shown to inhibit neoplastic cell proliferation in culture. In most cases, such inhibition is not accompanied by cell loss, with the exception of multiple cell lines of human small cell lung carcinoma (SCC), a human leukemia cell line (HL-60), and possibly the B16 melanoma cell line. The first two cell types grow as anchorage-independent suspension cultures, the HL-60 as single cells and the SCC as multicellular spheroid aggregates. Moreover, in the spectrum of human lung carcinoma cells in culture, the SCC cells respond in a cytotoxic manner to DFMO, whereas the non-small cell lung carcinoma (non-SCC) cells, which are anchorage dependent, show only growth inhibition, without actual cell loss. In the present study, we have investigated relationships between anchorage-dependent and -independent growth patterns of cells in culture and their response to DFMO treatment. Two non-SCC lung cancer cell lines, which normally grow as anchorage-dependent monolayers, show growth inhibition but no cell loss with the addition of DFMO. When these anchorage-dependent cells were forced to grow as multicellular aggregates, by coating the culture flask with Teflon, the cells developed an increased sensitivity to DFMO. They showed not only inhibition of cell proliferation but also cell death. Two SCC cell lines, which normally grow as anchorage-independent spheroids, developed adherence to the culture dishes coated with flbronectin. These cells, which show a cytotoxic response to DFMO during normal anchorage-independent growth, developed a decreased sensitivity to DFMO, showing only cell growth inhibition, but no cell death when treated during anchorage-dependent growth. Our data thus suggest that the state of anchorage dependence of lung cancer cells in culture is a critical factor in determining their response to polyamine depletion during treatment with DFMO.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1844-1848
Number of pages5
JournalCancer Research
StatePublished - Apr 1 1986

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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