Cyclosporine and α-difluoromethylornithine exhibit differential effects on colon and pancreatic cancer in vitro

Rami Saydjari, Courtney M. Townsend, Sam C. Barranco, James C. Thompson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


α-Difluoromethylornithine (DFMO) is a known irreversible inhibitor of ornithine decarboxylase (ODC), the rate-limiting enzyme in polyamine biosynthesis. Cyclosporine (CsA) has been reported to inhibit ODC activity in vitro. In the present study, we compared the effects of DFMO and CsA on growth, survival, and polyamine levels in mouse colon cancer (MC-26) and hamster pancreatic cancer (H2T) cells in vitro. The growth and survival of MC-26 and H2T cells were inhibited by both DFMO and CsA. However, H2T cells were observed to be significantly more sensitive than MC-26 cells to both CsA and DFMO. The inhibitory effects of CsA were blocked by the addition of the polyamine, putrescine, in both MC-26 and H2T cells. Polyamine levels were altered significantly in both MC-26 and H2T cells treated with CsA and DFMO. However, the profile of these alterations differed between MC-26 and H2T cell lines. Putrescine and spermidine levels in MC-26 cells were more sensitive to DFMO inhibition than were H2T cells. Spermine levels were consistently elevated in MC-26 cells exposed to CsA or DFMO, while the level of spermine in H2T cells decreased significantly in response to the same drugs. These results suggest that CsA and DFMO exhibit different effects on colon and pancreatic cancer growth in vitro. In addition, the differences in the sensitivity of pancreatic and colon cancer to CsA and DFMO indicate potentially important differences in polyamine metabolism between the two cell lines.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)251-258
Number of pages8
JournalInvestigational New Drugs
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 1987


  • cancer
  • colon
  • cyclosporine
  • pancreas
  • polyamines
  • α-difluoromethylornithine

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Pharmacology
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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