Self-assembling cytotoxins

Science  01 Aug 1986:
Vol. 233, Issue 4763, pp. 561-563
DOI: 10.1126/science.3523757


Decanal and N-amino-N'-1-octylguanidine (AOG), combined at 28 microM each, mediated erythrocyte lysis within 80 minutes under physiological conditions. By contrast, no lysis was observed after 20 hours with either decanal (56 microM) or AOG (100 microM) alone. The pronounced synergism observed for these chemicals and similar reactive pairs of chemicals is due to the self-assembly of more cytotoxic hydrazones in situ. Decanal and AOG also exhibit synergistic activity against cultured human cells (HeLa) and bacteria (Escherichia coli J96). This synergism may be useful in the design of cytotoxins that would self-assemble selectively from nontoxic precursors within tumors, while sparing normal tissue.