Relationship between the parameters cellular differentiation, doubling time and platinum accumulation and cisplatin sensitivity in a panel of head and neck cancer cell lines

Marij J.P. Welters, Anne Marie J. Fichtinger-Schepman, Robert A. Baan, Mario A.J.A. Hermsen, Wim J.F. Van Der Vijgh, Jacqueline Cloos, Boudewijn J.M. Braakhuis

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Patients with head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC) treated with cisplatin show a large inter-individual variation in tumor response. Little is known about factors that contribute to this variation. The aim of our study was to correlate the sensitivity to cisplatin with a number of cellular parameters using a panel of 10 human HNSCC cell lines. A 7-fold variation in response after 72 hr of exposure to cisplatin as determined in a colorimetric proliferation assay was observed. The IC50 values did not correlate with the DNA index, the cellular doubling time or the expression of differentiation markers. Intracellular platinum (Pt) concentrations were measured by atomic absorption spectroscopy after exposing the cells to 10 μM cisplatin for 1-72 hr. The intracellular Pt levels increased up to 24 hr. One cell line, derived from the tumor of a patient previously treated with radiotherapy, accumulated much more Pt than the other cell lines. For these other cell lines, a significant positive correlation was found between Pt accumulation and sensitivity. In conclusion, cisplatin-induced growth inhibition in HNSCC in vitro is generally positively correlated with cellular Pt levels. However, the fact that occasionally cancer cells can survive despite high intracellular Pt levels indicates that additional parameters are needed to explain a response unequivocally.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)410-415
Number of pages6
JournalInternational journal of cancer
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 9 Jun 1997

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