Emilie Louise Hansen, Esin Bengisu Sozer, Stefania Romeo, Stine Krog Frandsen, P. Thomas Vernier, Julie Gehl1
Electroporation, a method for increasing the permeability of membranes to ions and small molecules, is used in the clinic with chemotherapeutic drugs for cancer treatment (electro- chemotherapy). Electroporation with calcium causes ATP (adenosine triphosphate) depletion and cancer cell death and could be a novel cancer treatment. This study aims at understanding the relationship between applied electric field, calcium concentration, ATP depletion and efficacy.
In three human cell lines — H69 (small-cell lung cancer), SW780 (bladder cancer), and U937 (leukaemia), viability was determined after treatment with 1, 3, or 5 mM calcium and eight 99 μs pulses with 0.8, 1.0, 1.2, 1.4 or 1.6 kV/cm. Fitting analysis was applied to quantify the cell-killing efficacy in presence of calcium. Post-treatment intracellular ATP was measured in H69 and SW780 cells. Post-treatment intracellular ATP was observed with fluorescence confocal microscopy of quinacrine-labelled U937 cells.
Both H69 and SW780 cells showed dose-dependent (calcium concentration and electric field) decrease in intracellular ATP (p<0.05) and reduced viability. The 50% effective cell kill was found at 3.71 kV/cm (H69) and 3.28 kV/cm (SW780), reduced to 1.40 and 1.15 kV/cm (respectively) with 1 mM calcium (lower EC50 for higher calcium concentrations). Quinacrine fluorescence intensity of calcium-electroporated U937 cells was one third lower than in controls (p<0.0001).
Calcium electroporation dose-dependently reduced cell survival and intracellular ATP. Increasing extracellular calcium allows the use of a lower electric field.
This study supports the use of calcium electroporation for treatment of cancer and possibly lowering the applied electric field in future trials.
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