L-canavanine as a radiosensitization agent for human pancreatic cancer cells

Aimee K. Bence, Val R. Adams, Peter A. Crooks

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


This study evaluated the in vitro effect of L-canavanine on cell cycle progression in the two human pancreatic cancer cells lines PANC-1 and MIA PaCa-2. After 72 h of exposure to L-canavanine, the percentage of cells in the radiosensitive G2/M phase of the cell cycle increased 6-fold in PANC-1 cells and 4-fold in MIA PaCa-2 cells, when compared to untreated cells. The capacity of L-canavanine to redistribute cells into the G2/M phase of the cell cycle was both concentration- and time-dependent. Since many drugs that cause cells to accumulate in the G2/M phase of the cell cycle are effective radiosensitization agents, the potential of L-canavanine to synergistically enhance the effects of ionizing radiation also was evaluated. The interaction between these treatment modalities was quantified using the median-effect equation and combination index analysis. L-Canavanine was found to be synergistic with radiation when either PANC-1 or MIA PaCa-2 cells were exposed to L-canavanine for 72 h prior to irradiation. These results suggest that L-canavanine in combination with radiation may have clinical potential in the treatment of pancreatic cancer.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)37-43
Number of pages7
JournalMolecular and Cellular Biochemistry
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - Feb 2003

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors gratefully acknowledge the American Foundation for Pharmaceutical Education Fellowships for fellowship support of AKB.


  • Cell cycle analysis
  • Ionizing radiation
  • L-canavanine
  • Median-effect analysis
  • Pancreatic cancer
  • Radiosensitization

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Cell Biology


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