The cell cycle and induction of apoptosis in a hamster fibrosarcoma cell line treated with anti-cancer drugs: Its importance to solid tumour chemotherapy

Said El Alaoui, John Lawry, Martin Griffin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The induction of apoptosis by anticancer drugs and its relationship to stages of the cell cycle was studied in cells derived from a solid tumour; a highly malignant hamster fibrosarcoma (Met B). Asynchronously proliferating cells were treated with a wide variety of agents such as actinomycin-D,1-ß-D-arabinofuranosyl cytosine, camptothecin, cisplatin, cyclophosphamide, daunorubicin, 5-flurouracil, 6-mercaptopurine, hydroxy urea, ionomycin, methotrexate and vincristine. With the exception of cyclophosphamide and hydroxyurea, a 36 h exposure to these drugs resulted in inhibition of cell growth and apart from cyclophosphamide, hydroxyurea, B-mercaptopurine and cisplatin the induction of apoptosis. Studies using a decreased concentration of drug and exposure time (12 h) followed by examination of cells using flow cytometry indicated that most drugs were capable of affecting cell cycle progression without induction of apoptosis. However when cells were synchronised at G/G, S and G/M phases and then exposed to these decreased concentrations of drug apart from 6MP an HU, apoptosis was observed and for the majority of drugs it took place in the same phase in which progression through the cell cycle was blocked by the drug. Cells synchronised in G/G phase were more susceptible to methotrexate, whereas S-phase cells were more susceptible to camptothecin and 5-flurouracil and G/M phase cells more susceptible to actinomycin D,1-ß-D-arabinofuranosyl cytosine, daunorubicin and cisplatin. In contrast, vincristine blocked cells in G/M phase but exerted its apoptotic effect in S-phase cells, ionomycin had no effect on the cell cycle, but G/M cells appeared to be more susceptible to the effect of this drug. These data indicate that entry into apoptosis by this fibrosarcoma may occur at any point in the cell cycle. They also demonstrate a correlation between the action of some anticancer drugs on the cell cycle and the subsequent induction of apoptosis which may be useful in chemotherapeutic design.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)195-207
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Neuro-Oncology
Issue number1-2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 1997


  • antineoplastic agent
  • cyclophosphamide
  • anticancer drugs
  • apoptosis
  • cell cycle
  • hamster fibrosarcoma
  • cancer inhibition
  • non-human
  • solid tumor


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