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This article is part of the supplement: Abstracts of the 16th International Charles Heidelberger Symposium on Cancer Research

Open Access Poster presentation

MGBG–cisplatin combination chemotherapy against breast cancer

Raquel F Gonsalves1* and Maria PM Marques12

Author Affiliations

1 “Molecular Physical-Chemistry” R&D Unit, University of Coimbra, Coimbra, Portugal

2 Department of Life Sciences, Faculty of Sciences and Technology, University of Coimbra, Coimbra, Portugal

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BMC Proceedings 2010, 4(Suppl 2):P27  doi:10.1186/1753-6561-4-S2-P27

The electronic version of this article is the complete one and can be found online at:

Published:24 September 2010

© 2010 Gonsalves et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.

Poster presentation

Worldwide, it is estimated that more than one million women are diagnosed with breast cancer every year, representing 14% of female cancer deaths [1], about 4,500 new cases being detected each year in Portugal. In the present study, the compound metylglyoxal bis(guanylhydrazone) (MGBG) [2], an inhibitor of S-adenosyl-L-methionine descarboxylase (SAMdc), was investigated as a potencial anti-cancer agent towards the breast cancer cell line MCF-7 and the non-carcinogenic, non-immortalized, human foreskin fibroblast cells BJ. The results (MTT assay) evidenced that the effect of MGBG against the MCF-7 cells is dose and time dependent, revealing a significant cell viability loss (ca. 90% at 72 h, for a 50 μM dosage). Since its effect was not shown to be reversible, this compound appears to be quite effective in this line. In fact, compared to cisplatin (cDDP), a commonly used drug in clinical practice, MGBG provided a larger cytotoxicity in the same concentration range. Similarly, a slight synergistic effect was verified for these two compounds – ca. 93% at 72 h, for an MGBG(50 μM):CDDP(10 μM) combination, while no effect was assessed on the reversibility of the cytotoxic action. Regarding the non-neoplastic BJ line, MBGB exhibited a clear reversibility of et growth-inhibiting effect, as opposed to cDDP and the MGBG:cDDP cocktails.


  1. Coughlin SS, Ekwueme DU: Breast cancer as a global health concern.

    Cancer Epidemiol 2009, 33:315-318. PubMed Abstract | Publisher Full Text OpenURL

  2. Marques MPM, Gil FPSC, Calheiros R, Battaglia V, Brunati AM, Agostinelli E, Toninello A: Biological activity of antitumoural MGBG: the structural variable.

    Amino Acids 2008, 34:555-564. PubMed Abstract | Publisher Full Text OpenURL