Five-chlorodeoxycytidine, a tumor-selective enzyme-driven radiosensitizer, effectively controls five advanced human tumors in nude mice

Sheldon Greer, Marcy Alvarez, Marisol Mas, Chandra Wozniak, David Arnold, Anna Knapinska, Christina Norris, Ronald Burk, Alex Aller, Michael Dauphinée

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Purpose: The study's goals were as follows: (1) to extend our past findings with rodent tumors to human tumors in nude mice, (2) to determine if the drug protocol could be simplified so that only CldC and one modulator, tetrahydrouridine (H4U), would be sufficient to obtain efficacy, (3) to determine the levels of deoxycytidine kinase and dCMP deaminase in human tumors, compared to adjacent normal tissue, and (4) to determine the effect of CldC on normal tissue radiation damage to the cervical spinal cord of nude mice. Methods and Materials: The five human tumors used were as follows: prostate tumors, PC-3 and H-1579; glioblastoma, SF-295; breast tumor, GI-101; and lung tumor, H-165. The duration of treatment was 3-5 weeks, with drugs administered on Days 1-4 and radiation on Days 3-5 of each week. The biomodulators of CldC were N-(Phosphonacetyl)-L-aspartate (PALA), an inhibitor of aspartyl transcarbamoylase, 5-fluorodeoxycytidine (FdC), resulting in tumor-directed inhibition of thymidylate synthetase, and H4U, an inhibitor of cytidine deaminase. The total dose of focused irradiation of the tumors was usually 45 Gy in 12 fractions. Results: Marked radiosensitization was obtained with CldC and the three modulators. The average days in tumor regrowth delay for X-ray compared to drugs plus X-ray, respectively, were: PC-3 prostate, 42-97; H-1579 prostate, 29-115; glioblastoma, 5-51; breast, 50-80; lung, 32-123. Comparative studies with PC-3 and H-1579 using CldC coadministered with H4U, showed that both PALA and FdC are dispensable, and the protocol can be simplified with equal and possibly heightened efficacy. For example, PC-3 with X-ray and (1) no drugs, (2) CldC plus the three modulators, (3) a high dose of CldC, and (4) escalating doses of CldC resulted in 0/10, 3/9, 5/10, and 6/9 cures, respectively. The tumor regrowth delay data followed a similar pattern. After treating mice only 1 1/2 weeks with CldC+H4U, 92% of the PC-3 tumor cells were found to possess CldU in their DNA. The great majority of head-and-neck tumors from patient material had markedly higher levels of dC kinase and dCMP deaminase than found in adjacent normal tissue. Physiologic and histologic studies showed that CldC+H4U combined with X-ray, focused on the cervical spinal cord, did not result in damage to that tissue. Conclusions: 5-CldC coadministered with only H4U is an effective radiosensitizer of human tumors. Ninety-two percent of PC-3 tumor cells have been shown to take up ClUra derived from CldC in their DNA after only 1 1/2 weeks and 2 weeks of bolus i.p. injections. Enzymatic alterations that make tumors successful have been exploited for a therapeutic advantage. The great electronegativity, coupled with the relatively small Van der Waal radius of the Cl atom, may result in CldC's possessing the dual advantageous properties of FdC on one hand and BrdU and IdU on the other hand. These advantages include autoenhancing the incorporation of CldUTP into DNA by not only overrunning but also inhibiting the formation of competing TTP pools in tumors. A clinical trial is about to begin, with head-and-neck tumors as a first target of CldC radiosensitization.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)791-806
Number of pages16
JournalInternational Journal of Radiation Oncology Biology Physics
Issue number3
StatePublished - Nov 1 2001


  • 5-chloro-2′-deoxycytidine
  • Brain
  • Human tumors of the prostate
  • Lung and breast
  • Radiation therapy
  • Radiosensitization

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Radiation


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