Novel function of the thyroid hormone analog tetraiodothyroacetic acid: A cancer chemosensitizing and anti-cancer agent

Abdelhadi Rebbaa, Fei Chu, Faith B. Davis, Paul J. Davis, Shaker A. Mousa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

49 Scopus citations


Previous studies from our laboratory have demonstrated that thyroid hormones play a key role in cancer progression. In addition, a deaminated form, tetraiodothyroacetic acid (tetrac), that antagonizes the proliferative action of these hormones was found to possess anti-cancer functions through its ability to inhibit cellular proliferation and angiogenesis. The present study was undertaken to investigate whether tetrac could also suppress the development of drug resistance, known as a causative factor of disease relapse. Tetrac was shown to enhance cellular response in vitro to doxorubicin, etoposide, cisplatin, and trichostatin A in resistant tumor cell lines derived from neuroblastoma, osteosarcoma, and breast cancer. The mechanism of action of tetrac did not involve expression of classical drug resistance genes. However, radiolabeled doxorubicin uptake in cells was enhanced by tetrac, suggesting that one or more export mechanisms for chemotherapeutic agents are inhibited. Tetrac was also found to enhance cellular susceptibility to senescence and apoptosis, suggesting that the agent may target multiple drug resistance mechanisms. Tetrac has previously been shown to inhibit tumor cell proliferation in vitro. In vivo studies reported here revealed that tetrac in a pulsed-dose regimen was effective in suppressing the growth of a doxorubicin-resistant human breast tumor in the nude mouse. In this paradigm, doxorubicin-sensitivity was not restored, indicating that (1) the in vitro restoration of drug sensitivity by tetrac may not correlate with in vivo resistance phenomena and (2) tetrac is an effective chemotherapeutic agent in doxorubicin-resistant cells.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)269-276
Number of pages8
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2008


  • Drug resistance
  • P-glycoprotein
  • Tetrac
  • Thyroid hormone

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Cancer Research


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