Pharmacological Ascorbate Radiosensitizes Pancreatic Cancer.
Cancer Res. 2015 Jun 16. Epub 2015 Jun 16. PMID: 26081808
The toxicity of pharmacological ascorbate is mediated by the generation of H2O2 via the oxidation of ascorbate. Since pancreatic cancer cells are sensitive to H2O2 generated by ascorbate they would also be expected to become sensitized to agents that increase oxidative damage such as ionizing radiation. The current study demonstrates that pharmacological ascorbate enhances the cytotoxic effects of ionizing radiation as seen by decreased cell viability and clonogenic survival in all pancreatic cancer cell lines examined, but not in non-tumorigenic pancreatic ductal epithelial cells. Ascorbate radiosensitization was associated with an increase in oxidative stress-induced DNA damage, which was reversed by catalase. In mice with established heterotopic and orthotopic pancreatic tumor xenografts, pharmacological ascorbate combined with ionizing radiation decreased tumor growth and increased survival, without damaging the gastrointestinal tract or increasing systemic changes in parameters indicative of oxidative stress. Our results demonstrate the potential clinical utility of pharmacological ascorbate as a radiosensitizer in the treatment of pancreatic cancer.