PRECLINICAL REPORTSAn aqueous formulation of γ-linolenic acid with anti-proliferative action on human pancreatic cancer cell linesAgombar, A.a; Cooper, A. J.a; Johnson, C. D.aAuthor Information aUniversity Surgical Unit, Southampton General Hospital, Southampton, UK Correspondence to C. D. Johnson, University Surgical Unit, F Level, Southampton General Hospital, Tremona Road, Southampton SO16 6YD, UK. Tel: +44 2380 796145; fax: +44 2380 794020; e-mail: [email protected] Received 10 February 2003 Revised form accepted 22 October 2003 Anti-Cancer Drugs: February 2004 - Volume 15 - Issue 2 - p 157-160 Buy Abstract Essential fatty acids, especially γ-linolenic acid (GLA), have been shown to directly inhibit the growth of cancer cell lines in culture. The aim of this study was to see whether an aqueous formulation of GLA works as well as the lithium-based salt. We evaluated the effect of the 1-deoxy-1-methylamino-D-glucitol salt of GLA (MeGLA) on the growth of two human pancreatic cancer cell lines (Panc-1 and MIA PaCa-2) in vitro, and compared its effects with a previously studied formulation, lithium GLA (LiGLA). The effect of time exposure (2–7 days) and difference in concentration (0–1000 μmol/l) were studied using 96-well culture plates. Cell growth was assessed by MTT assay. Control experiments were performed with meglumine alone in similar concentrations. MeGLA had cytostatic and cytotoxic effects on pancreatic cancer cell lines with 50% growth inhibition at 30–100 μmol/l and cytotoxic effects at 60–250 μmol/l. The degree of growth inhibition increased with time of exposure to MeGLA. The anti-proliferative effects of MeGLA were similar to those previously observed with LiGLA. We conclude that MeGLA has equivalent anti-proliferative activity to LiGLA when tested in vitro against pancreatic cancer cell lines and is therefore a suitable alternative to LiGLA for investigation of the in vivo activity of GLA against pancreatic adenocarcinomas. © 2004 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.