2005 Volume 51 Issue 6 Pages 392-397
α-Tocopheryl succinate (TS), which is known to induce apoptosis selectively in cancer cells, has attracted attention as a chemotherapeutic agent. Recently, we found that α-tocopheryl malonate (TM) and α-tocopheryl oxalate (TO), among the α-tocopheryl esters tested, have high apoptogenic activity as well as TS. In this study, we investigated the characteristics of their cytotoxicity on normal cells and cancer cells in vitro, and their anticancer effects on mice inoculated with melanoma B16-F1 cells in vivo. The order of in vitro cytotoxicity was TO≥TM>>TS in all cell lines examined. Addition of exogenous superoxide dismutase (SOD) and the antioxidant N-acetyl cysteine (NAC) inhibited TS and TM but not TO-induced cell deaths. A selective cytotoxic effect on cancer cells was observed with TS but not with TM or TO.c-Jun N-terminal kinase (JNK) inhibitor II prevented cell death induced by TS but did not prevent cell deaths induced either by TM or TO. Intravenous administration of vesiculated TS and TM to mice inoculated with melanoma B l 6-Fl cells prevented tumor growth and enhanced the mean survival time, but TO administration killed the mice due to its acute high toxicity. From these results, we discussed the characteristics of their selective cytotoxicity toward tumor cells in vitro and anti-cancer effects in vivo.