ARTICLE: Phosphorus-32, a Clinically Available Drug, Inhibits Cancer Growth by Inducing DNA Double-Strand Breakage

AUTHOURS: Yulan Cheng, Ana P. Kiess, Joseph M. Herman, Martin G. Pomper, Stephen J. Meltzer, John M. Abraham

JOURNAL: PLoS One. 2015 Jun 1;10(6):e0128152. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0128152. eCollection 2015.


Radioisotopes that emit electrons (beta particles), such as radioiodine, can effectively kill target cells, including cancer cells. Aqueous 32P[PO4] is a pure beta-emitter that has been used for several decades to treat non-malignant human myeloproliferative diseases. 32P [PO4] was directly compared to a more powerful pure beta-emitter, the clinically important 90Y isotope. In vitro, 32P[PO4] was more effective at killing cells than was the more powerful isotope 90Y (P _ 0.001) and also caused substantially more double-stranded DNA breaks than did 90Y. In vivo, a single low-dose intravenous dose of aqueous elemental 32P significantly inhibited tumor growth in the syngeneic murine cancer model (P _ 0.001). This effect is exerted by direct incorporation into nascent DNA chains, resulting in double-stranded breakage, a unique mechanism not duplicable by other, more powerful electron-emitting radioisotopes. 32P[PO4] should be considered for human clinical trials as a potential novel anti-cancer drug.

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