Role of Reactive Oxygen Species and Nitric Oxide in Mediating Chemotherapeutic Drug Induced Bystander Response in Human Cancer Cells Exposed In-Vitro

Mani Chinnadurai, Bhavna S Rao, Ramasamy Deepika, Solomon F. D. Paul, Perumal Venkatachalam


Background: The intention of cancer chemotherapy is to control the growth of cancer cells using chemical agents. However, the occurrence of second malignancies has raised concerns, leading to re-evaluation of the current strategy in use for chemotherapeutic agents. Although the mechanisms involved in second malignancy remain ambiguous, therapeutic-agent-induced non-DNA targeted effects like bystander response and genomic instability cannot be eliminated completely. Hence, Bleomycin (BLM) and Neocarzinostatin (NCS), chemotherapeutic drugs with a mode of action similar to ionizing radiation, were used to study the mechanism of bystander response in human cancer cells (A549, CCRF-CEM and HL-60) by employing co-culture methodology.

Methods: Bystander effect was quantified using micronucleus (MN) assay and in-situ immunofluorescence(γH2AX assay).The role of reactive oxygen species (ROS) and nitric oxide (NO) in mediating the bystander response was explored by pre-treating bystander cells with dimethylsulphoxide (DMSO) and C-PTIO respectively.

Results: Bystander response was observed only in CCRF-CEM and A549 cells (P less than 0.001). A significant decrease in this response was observed with ROS scavenger, DMSO.

Conclusion: This significant attenuation in the bystander response on treatment with DMSO, suggests that ROS has a more significant role in mediating the bystander response.Since the possibility of the ROS and NO in mediating these bystander effect was confirmed, mechanistic control of these signaling molecules could either reduce radiation damage and potential carcinogenicity of normal tissues (by reducing bystander signaling) or maximize cell sterilization during chemotherapy (by amplifying bystander responses in tumors).

World J Oncol. 2012;3(2):64-72


Bystander effect; Bleomycin; Neocarzinostatin; Reactive oxygen species; Nitric oxide; Micronucleus assay

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