Treatment with 3-bromopyruvate (3-BrPA) completely eradicates advanced cancers in rats that have an enhanced capacity to metabolize glucose to lactic acid, according to a report in the November 5th Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications.
“3-BrPA targets the cancer phenotype that forms the basis of one of the most commonly used techniques worldwide to diagnose human cancers, i.e., Positron Emission Tomography (PET) scanning,” Dr. Peter L. Pedersen from Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland told Reuters Health.”Specifically, this phenotype is the capacity of many tumors, particularly the most aggressive type, to consume more glucose than normal cells and metabolize it to lactic acid, which is then transported out of cancer cells,” he explained.Dr. Pedersen and colleagues seeded hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) cells with this phenotype into young rats and then examined the effects of treatment with 3-BrPA after the tumors reached 2-3 cm size.In HCC cells, 3-BrPA induced depletion of ATP and loss of viability, the authors report, whereas normal hepatocytes were resistant to 3-BrPA.In female rats, HCC cells growing internally in the abdominal cavity and all advanced tumors projecting externally regressed and disappeared after 3-BrPA treatment, the report indicates.Similarly, the researchers note, 3-BrPA treatment also brought the regression and disappearance of all moderately advanced and advanced solid tumors growing in the upper backs of test animals.There has been no recurrence of tumors for at least 7 months in these test animals.”No matter how large or aggressive (advanced) the tumor may appear, it may be possible to defeat it completely in the future with the right chemical agent,” Dr. Pedersen said. “Our studies provide ‘proof of principle’ that this can be done repeatedly in an animal model.””Dr. Young Ko has shown already that several human breast cancer cell lines are killed by 3-BrPA, and in future studies she will examine the effect of 3-BrPA on advanced breast cancers growing in an animal model,” Dr. Pedersen said. “She will be examining also the effect of 3-BrPA on aggressive metastatic cancers.”(Source: Biochem Biophys Res Commun 2004;324:268-274: Reuters Health: Oncolink: Will Boggs, MD: November 2004.)