Relationship of erythrocyte polyamine levels and growth rate of transplantable tumors in rats.
Varying levels of polyamines in the urine, plasma, and erythrocytes (RBC) of cancer patients have been demonstrated. The growth rate of the tumor has been suggested as a primary factor which determines whether the polyamine levels in urine are elevated. To further evaluate tumor size and growth rate as variables affecting polyamine levels in physiological fluids, the effect of a transplantable fibrosarcoma and colon tumor on the RBC polyamine levels of Fischer 344 rats was determined. The tumors were implanted s.c. and grew without metastasis or spontaneous regression. The fibrosarcoma grew exponentially up to a weight of approximately 69 +/- 15 (SD) g and was associated with a linear increase in RBC polyamine levels compared with that of non-tumor-bearing rats. RBC putrescine, spermidine, and spermine levels were significantly elevated at tumor weights of 12.5 +/- 1.4, 20.4 +/- 3.8, and 33.2 +/- 5.0 g, respectively. The respective polyamines increased consistently thereafter until the tumor weight was 57.8 +/- 5.8 g. In contrast with the fibrosarcoma, the colon tumor grew exponentially only to a weight of 9.2 +/- 4.7 g, at which time the growth rate of the tumor began to decrease (time T of the Gompertz model). RBC polyamine levels of rats with the colon tumor showed only a transient increase. RBC putrescine levels were significantly increased at a tumor weight of 12.9 +/- 1.2 g and spermidine at a tumor weight of 17.4 +/- 0.2 g. RBC spermine levels were significantly elevated at both tumor weights; thereafter, all RBC polyamine levels returned to normal. Host cachexia was evident when the fibrosarcoma and colon tumors weighed 12.5 +/- 0.9 and 7.2 +/- 2.6 g, respectively. The polyamine levels of the fibrosarcoma differed significantly from that of the colon tumor. These levels, however, did not correlate with the exponential growth rates. The results suggest that the tumor is the major source of elevated RBC polyamines. The data also suggest that the tumors must be rapidly growing for the elevation in polyamines to occur. This may partly explain why patients with extensive neoplastic disease that may have surpassed time T in the Gompertz model do not manifest abnormal polyamine levels.
Grossie, VB; Nishioka, K; Ota, DM; Martin, RG
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