The mechanism of the pharmacological actions of dexrazoxane on different tissue types

Michael Leslie Pearlman, The University of Texas Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences at Houston


Approximately 6,600 people die from acute myelogenous leukemia (AML) on an annual basis. During the past 10 to 15 years, there has been gradual overall improvements in the therapy of this disease, yet the majority of patients with AML succumb to this disease. In an attempt to improve current therapeutic strategies for AML, we became interested in a commercially available drug, dexrazoxane, which protects against anthracycline-induced cardiotoxicity. We have investigated dexrazoxane's (DEX) effects on different tissue types in an effort to determine its unique mechanism of action. Colony forming assays were used to evaluate stem-cell renewal of myeloid cells in vitro and median effect analysis was used to evaluate antagonism, synergism, or additivity. The anthracyclines, doxorubicin, daunorubicin, and idarubicin were individually combined with DEX in leukemic myeloid models to determine if the combination of the two drugs resulted in a synergistic, additive or antagonistic effect. Etoposide and cytosine arabinoside were also evaluated in combination with DEX using the same in vitro model and evaluated similarly. Dexrazoxane in combination with any of the anthracyclines was schedule dependent. The combination of DEX and anthracycline resulted in a greater antitumor effect than anthracycline alone except for DEX administered 24 hours before doxorubicin or daunorubicin. These data were corroborated through median effect analysis. Etoposide in combination with dexrazoxane was synergistic for all combinations, and the combination of cytosine arabinoside and DEX was schedule dependent. In contrast, using an in vivo gastrointestinal model, DEX in combination with doxorubicin was antagonistic for almost all of the ratios used, except for the highest. A Withers' assay was used to evaluate toxicity on jejunal crypt cells. No effect was apparent for the combination of idarubicin and DEX, however, as seen with RZ, DEX in addition to radiation greatly potentiated the cytotoxic effects of radiation on crypts. These paradoxical effects of dexrazoxane were initially enigmatic, but after additional investigation, we propose a model that explains our findings. We conclude that DEX in combination with anthracyclines produces an additive to synergistic antileukemic response and may have therapeutic potential clinically. Additionally, DEX protects the gastrointestinal tract from doxorubicin toxicity, which could have clinical implications for the administration of greater doses of doxorubicin.

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Recommended Citation

Pearlman, Michael Leslie, "The mechanism of the pharmacological actions of dexrazoxane on different tissue types" (1999). Texas Medical Center Dissertations (via ProQuest). AAI9951899.