Effects of polyamine depletion by α-difluoromethylornithine on in vitro and in vivo biological properties of 4T1 murine mammary cancer cells

John Yoonkeun Jun, James W. Griffith, Richard Bruggeman, Sharlene Washington, Laurence M. Demers, Michael F. Verderame, Andrea Manni

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7 Scopus citations


Increased polyamine synthesis has been associated with proliferation and progression of breast cancer, and thus, is a potential target for anticancer therapy. Polyamine depletion by α-difluoromethylornithine (DFMO) has been shown to decrease pulmonary and bone metastasis from human breast cancer cell xenografts. Following these observations, this study was designed to test the effects of DFMO on in vitro and in vivo features of the highly invasive and metastatic 4T1 murine mammary cancer cells. DFMO inhibited proliferation, caused G1-S arrest, and suppressed in vitro invasiveness of 4T1 cells. In contrast to our previous findings with MDA-MB-435 cells, DFMO did not affect the activation of signal transducers and activator of transcription 3, c-Jun N-terminal kinase, and extracellular signal-regulated kinase, but decreased phosphorylation of p38. DFMO did not alter the expression of Twist. DFMO delayed the orthotopic growth of 4T1 xenografts in association with suppressed putrescine and spermidine levels but increased levels of spermine. DFMO did not affect pulmonary metastasis when primary tumors of control and DFMO-treated mice were matched for size. Interestingly, DFMO reduced Ki-67 expression only in the primary tumors but did not affect its expression in the metastatic tumors in the lung. Cleaved caspase-3 expression was not affected by DFMO in either the primary tumors or the pulmonary metastasis. In summary, DFMO treatment markedly inhibited in vitro proliferation and invasiveness of 4T1 cells and retarded the growth of orthotopic xenografts in mice. The failure of DFMO to inhibit pulmonary metastasis in this system appears to be due, at least in part, to its lack of antiproliferative effect at the metastatic sites.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)33-40
Number of pages8
JournalBreast Cancer Research and Treatment
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2008

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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