Products of arachidonic acid metabolism can influence normal and malignant cell growth. In vivo, inhibitors of arachidonic acid metabolism have been associated with inhibition of tumor growth, including head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC). This has not been evaluated extensively in vitro in an HNSCC model. Therefore we investigated the effects of several arachidonic acid cascade inhibitors (AACIs) (indomethacin, curcumin, phenidone, nordihydrogualaretic acid, 5,8,11,14-eicasatetraynoic acid, and 13-cisretinoic acid) on the growth of two HNSCC cell lines (MDA 886Ln and 1483). We found that AACIs caused dose-dependent growth inhibition of both cell lines. In an effort to inhibit HNSCC cell growth at lower concentrations of these drugs, we evaluated the effects of a variety of AACIs in combination with 13-cis retinoic acid. We observed synergistic growth inhibition when the drugs were used in all combinations, with the exception of indomethacin. These results suggest that AACIs may have some utility in the direct treatment of HNSCC, and a strategy combining 13-cis retinoic acid with other AACIs may prove to be even more effective.
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