Free radicals as potential antitumour agents
The aim of this work was to use extremely low concentrations of free radical generating compounds as a 'catalyst' to trigger endogenous free radical chain reactions in the host and to selectively eliminate neoplastic cells in the host. To test the hypothesis, a number of free radical generating compounds were screened on several malignant cell lines in vitro to select model compounds that were used against tumour models in vivo. 2,2-Diphenyl-1-picrylhydrazyl (DPPH) and its derivatives were selected at the model compounds for in vivo experiments in view of their high cytotoxic potency against several malignant cell lines in vitro. The water soluble derivative, 2,2-diphcnyl-l-(2', 4'-dinitro-6'-sulphophenyl) hydrazyl (DDSH) given by subcutaneous injections demonstrated significant antitumour activities against the MAC 16 murine colon adcnocarcinoma implanted subcuta-ncously in male NMRI mice at nanomolar concentration range. 40-60% of long term survival of over 60 days was achieved (compared with control survival of 20 days) with total tumour elimination. This compound was also active against both P388 leukaemia in male BDF1 mice and TLX5 lymphoid tumour in male CBA/CA mice at a similar concentration range. However, some of these animals died suddenly after treatment with no evidence of disease present at post mortem. The cause of death was unknown but thought to be related to the treatment. There was significant increase in scrum level of malondialdchydc (MDA) following treatment, but did not correlate to the antitumour activities of these compounds. Induction of supcroxide dismutasc (SOD), and glutathione peroxidase (GPx) occurred around day 8 after the administration of DDSH. Histological sections of MAC16 tumours showed areas of extensive massive hacmorrhagic necrosis and vascular collapse associated with perivas-cular cell death following the administration of nanomolar concentration of DDSH which was probably compatible with the effects of free radicals. It was concluded that the antitumour activities of these compounds may be related to free radical and cytokinc production.