Protein kinase inhibitors emodin and dichloro-ribofuranosylbenzimidazole modulate the cellular accumulation and cytotoxicity of cisplatin in a schedule-dependent manner

  • Tetsuji Kurokawa
  • Guangan He
  • Zahid H. Siddik
Original Article



Protein kinase inhibitors (PKI) have become prominent agents in cancer therapeutics. However, the specificity for target kinase inhibition can be poor and unwanted effects can emerge in combination regimens. The PKI emodin, for instance, can produce mixed results when combined with cisplatin, and we have sought a biochemical pharmacologic explanation for the negative cytotoxic effects.


Human ovarian A2780 tumor cells were exposed to the PKI emodin or dichloro-ribofuranosylbenzimidazole (DRB) with cisplatin using several schedules, and cytotoxicity determined by a growth inhibition assay. Intracellular platinum levels and DNA adducts were estimated by flameless atomic absorption spectrophotometry.


When A2780 cells were exposed first to emodin or DRB and then to cisplatin alone, the cytotoxic effects of cisplatin were significantly enhanced, whereas simultaneous exposure did not enhance the cytotoxicity, but instead inhibited it in the case of DRB. The increase in activity of cisplatin in the sequenced schedule was not due to increases in intracellular levels of cisplatin or DNA adducts, whereas the cytotoxic inhibition was related to a significant fall in both intracellular platinum levels and DNA adducts, which were ascribed to inhibition in cisplatin uptake. Knockdown of hCtr1 (the human copper transporter 1) by siRNA abrogated this inhibition in cisplatin uptake.


The results demonstrate that co-exposure of tumor cells to emodin or DRB with cisplatin inhibits platinum drug uptake by impacting the hCtr1 transporter and, thereby, reduce the cytotoxicity of cisplatin. Based on our findings, scheduling of the PKI and the cytotoxic agent should be a major consideration in the clinical design of combination regimens.


Cisplatin Emodin DRB Drug transport hCtr1 Resistance 



This study was supported by grants CA127263 to ZHS and CA16672 to M.D. Anderson Cancer Center from the National Cancer Institute, and by an Overseas Advanced Study Practice Support Project grant to TK from the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology, Japan. Our sincere thanks to Dr. Ismail Meraz for technical advice and to Dr. Jack Lee for consultation on statistical analysis.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Tetsuji Kurokawa
    • 1
    • 2
  • Guangan He
    • 1
  • Zahid H. Siddik
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Experimental TherapeuticsThe University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer CenterHoustonUSA
  2. 2.Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Faculty of Medical SciencesUniversity of FukuiFukui-kenJapan

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