Biological time and the effects of hydroxyurea on DNA synthetic activity of bone marrow and tumor cells in mice bearing the Ehrlich ascites carcinoma



The objective of this experiment was to attempt to induce, with hydroxyurea (HU), significant quantitative differences in the level of DNA-synthetic activity (DNA-SA) between a neoplastic cell population (the Ehrlich ascites carcinoma or EAC) and bone marrow in the same animal. Mice bearing a 5-day-old EAC were standardized to and kept on an LD 12:12 cycle (light 0600–1800 hr). They were treated with 500 mg/kg HU at 0500 hr (23 hr after lights on, or HALO) or at 1700 hr (11 HALO). DNA-SA was determined by liquid scintillation counting of 3H-thymidine incorporation into chemically isolated DNA. DNA-SA in bone marrow and EAC cells was monitored over the next 60 hr with subgroups of ten mice each killed every 3 hr beginning 3 hr after treatment with HU. The circadian system of the host influenced the response of the bone marrow to HU; i.e., the response to HU administered at 0500 hr was different both qualitatively and quantitatively from that for HU given at 1700 hr. Comparisons of DNA-SA in bone marrow and EAC from the same animal revealed time points after treatment with HU when DNA-SA in the EAC was high, but DNA-SA in bone marrow was low. These differences in the level of DNA-SA between a tumor cell population and bone marrow should be of therapeutic value; i.e., executor doses of anti-DNA-SA drugs such as cytosine arabinoside could be given at that point in time after treatment with HU when DNA-SA in the tumor was high, but DNA-SA in the bone marrow was low.