The effect of tissue specific induction of metallothionein (MT) by preadministration of metal compounds on the antitumor activity and adverse effects of adriamycin (ADR) was examined using mice bearing colon 38 adenocarcinoma. Significant increase in MT concentration was observed in the heart and bone marrow but not in the tumor tissue of the mice given bismuth (Bi) compound. Copper (Cu) increased MT in the tumor tissue but did not induce MT either in bone marrow or in the heart, whereas zinc (Zn) increased MT level in the heart and bone marrow as well as in the tumor tissue. ADR exerted cardiotoxicity, indicated by increase in lipid peroxidation in the heart, bone marrow toxicity, indicated by decrease in number of peripheral leukocytes, and antitumor activity, assessed by reduction of tumor weight, in tumorbearing mice untreated with MT inducing metal compounds. Preadministration of Bi significantly reduced the cardiotoxicity and bone marrow toxicity without compromising the antitumor activity of ADR. Cu pretreatment did not affect the extent of cardiotoxicity and bone marrow toxicity but significantly suppressed the antitumor effect. Pretreatment with Zn markedly reduced not only the adverse side effects but also the antitumor activity. The results described above suggest that ADR toxicity can be attenuated in the tissues in which the MT level was elevated and that the tissue specific induction of MT synthesis may provide a promising regimen for cancer chemotherapy. (C) 2000 Elsevier Science Inc.
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