Glutathione and related enzyme activity in human lung cancer cell lines

J. Carmichael, J. B. Mitchell, N. Friedman, A. F. Gazdar, A. Russo

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59 Scopus citations


Glutathione levels were measured in 30 human lung cancer lines. Lower levels were detected in cell lines derived from small cell lung cancer specimens compared to non-small cell lines (mean 42 vs. 130nmolmg‑1 protein, P=0.005). However, no differences were detected between cell lines derived from previously untreated patients, compared to those derived from patients who had received chemotherapy. Nonsmall cell lines were found to have increased activity of 4 detoxification enzymes compared to small cell lines, although these differences did not reach statistical significance: glutathione transferase activity (69 vs. 36 units, P=0.137), glutathione reductase (139 vs. 82 units, P=0.05), γ-glutamyl transpeptidase (9.39 vs. 3.03 units, P=0.072) and superoxide dismutase (20 vs. 13.6 units, P=0.137). As the cell lines exhibit a similar chemosensitivity pattern to that observed in clinical practice, these differences in glutathione and detoxification enzyme levels may prove to be important indicators of intrinsic drug resistance often seen in patients with non-small cell lung cancer.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)437-440
Number of pages4
JournalBritish journal of cancer
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 1988

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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