In vivo effects of DL-α-difluoromethylornithine (DFMO) on the metabolism of polyamines and nucleotide phosphates were monitored in P388/S leukemia cells grown intra-peritoneally in BDF1 inbred male mice. Inhibiting the ornithine decarboxylase (ODC) activity DFMO depleted putrescine and spermidine to 30–50 and 50–60%, respectively, and increased spermine to 25–60% compared with the controls, when given as 2% solution in drinking water of the tumor-bearing animals. DFMO treatment caused a parallel 56% elevation of total nucleotide content in tumor cells with distinct and significant increase of some nucleotide phosphates. The most pronounced alterations were shown in the intracellular UTP (202%), CTP (103%), ADP (92%) and ATP (71%) concentrations. Changes in polyamine and nucleotide phosphate metabolisms were dependent on tumor progression. A possible explanation of the metabolic events induced by DFMO is discussed.

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