Verapamil, the prototype calcium channel blocker, reversibly inhibits cell proliferation in many normal and tumour cell lines (Schmidt et al., Cancer Res., 48, 3617, 1988). We have found that two closely related cell lines - B16 murine melanoma cells and B10.BR normal murine melanocytes growing in culturebehave differently in the presence of verapamil, and we are now utilising these two related cell lines to help elucidate the molecular basis of verapamil's antiproliferative effect. In 'this study, we studied cell cycle phase distribution and c-myc gene expression in both cell lines in the absence of verapamil, during incubation with verapamil and after the cells were washed free of verapamil. Our studies show that 100 μM verapamil rapidly blocks DNA synthesis in melanocytes but not in B16 cells. Similarly, incubation with verapamil for 6-24h results in a decreased c-myc signal in melanocytes, but a transient increase in c-myc expression in B16 cells. After verapamil is washed from the cells following a 24-h incubation with drug, c-myc expression increases in melanocytes as they begin again to proliferate, but decreases in B16 cells as they begin to die. Our disparate results with these cell lines suggest that c-myc gene expression, regardless of its known involvement in growth control, is not the immediate target for verapamil's inhibitory action.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cancer Research