Studies of the mechanism of daunorubicin carcinogenesis: Modulation by vitamin E

Madhu Purewal, The University of Texas Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences at Houston


Daunorubicin (DNR) is an anthracycline antibiotic used as a cancer chemotherapeutic agent. However, it causes mammary adenocarcinomas in female Sprague-Dawley (SD) rats. Vitamin E (E) has been found to reduce DNR carcinogenicity. I investigated the mechanism of DNR carcinogenicity and its interaction with E in SD rats by studying DNR-DNA adduct formation and the influence of E status on DNR clearance and free radical producing and detoxifying enzymes. The hypothesis was that DNR exerts its tumorigenic effect via free radicals generated during redox cycling and production of reactive intermediates capable of forming DNA adducts. E was postulated to act as a protective agent through a combination of its antioxidant property, modulation of drug clearance and levels of free radical producing and detoxifying enzymes. DNA adduct formation was measured by the nuclease P1 $\sp{32}$P-post labeling assay. In vitro, DNR was activated by rat liver microsomes and either NADPH or cumene hydrogen peroxide (CuOOH). Rat liver DNA incubated with this mixture formed two adducts when the cofactor was NADPH and three adducts when CuOOH was used. In vivo, SD rats were treated with i.v. doses of DNR. No detectable DNR-DNA adducts were formed in liver or mammary DNA in vivo, although there was an intensification of endogenous DNA adducts. Groups, 1, 2, 3 and 4 of weanling female SD rats were fed 0, 100, 1,000 and 10,000 mg $\alpha$-tocopheryl acetate/kg diet respectively. A comparison of Groups 1 and 4 showed no effect of E status on clearance of 10 mg tritiated DNR/kg body weight over 72 hours. However, liver cleared DNR at a faster rate than mammary epithelial cells (MEC). Xanthine oxidase, which catalyzes DNR redox cycling, was significantly decreased in liver and MEC of rats in group 4 compared to groups 1, 2, and 3. Detoxifying enzymes were not dramatically affected by E supplementation. Quinone reductase in MEC was significantly increased in group 4 compared to other groups. Overall, the liver had higher levels of free radical detoxifying enzymes compared to MEC. These data support a role of free radicals in DNR carcinogenicity because (1) endogenous DNA adducts formed due to free radical insult are further intensified by DNR treatment in vivo, (2) MEC, the specific target of DNR carcinogenicity, cannot rapidly clear DNR and have a lower free radical detoxifying capability than liver, (3) E supplementation caused lowering of free radical generating potential via xanthine oxidase, and increased DNR detoxification due to elevation of quinone reductase in MEC.

Subject Area

Nutrition|Biomedical research|Oncology

Recommended Citation

Purewal, Madhu, "Studies of the mechanism of daunorubicin carcinogenesis: Modulation by vitamin E" (1990). Texas Medical Center Dissertations (via ProQuest). AAI9107735.