Topical application of valrubicin has a beneficial effect on developing skin tumors

Stine M Andersen, Cecilia Rosada, Frederik Dagnaes-Hansen, Ina G Laugesen, Elisabeth de Darkó, Tomas N Dam, Karin Stenderup

Research output: Contribution to journal/Conference contribution in journal/Contribution to newspaperJournal articleResearchpeer-review


Valrubicin is a second generation anthracycline characterized by an excellent safety profile presenting no skin toxicity or necrosis upon contact. In its current liquid formulation (Valstar; Indevus Pharmaceuticals, Lexington, MA), it is approved solely for the treatment of bladder cancer. Recently, valrubicin was incorporated in a cream formulation rendering this drug available for topical application. The cytostatic property of valrubicin can, thus, be employed for treating hyperproliferative skin diseases as was recently described for psoriasis. In the present study, the effect of topical application of valrubicin was investigated in skin tumor development; we hypothesized that valrubicin may be employed in treating actinic keratosis, a hyperproliferative skin condition that may transform into malignancy. A two-stage chemical mouse skin carcinogenesis model that represents the multistage etiology of human skin cancer-from developing papillomas to squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) was used. Moreover, two human skin SCC cell lines: DJM-1 and HSC-1 were cultured, to further investigate the effect of valrubicin in vitro. Cell viability was assessed by adenosine triphosphate presence, proliferation as proliferative cell nuclear antigen expression and apoptosis as cytokeratin 18 cleavage, caspase activation, poly-adenosine diphosphate-ribose-polymerase cleavage and bax and bcl-2 regulation. Valrubicin significantly inhibited tumor formation in the mouse skin carcinogenesis model and significantly decreased cell viability of the cultured human skin SCC cells. In both mouse skin and SCC cells, proliferation was significantly decreased. Apoptosis was significantly increased in SCC cells but unchanged in the treated mouse skin at study completion. This study demonstrated that topical application of valrubicin has a beneficial effect in treating developing skin tumors.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1483-90
Number of pages8
Publication statusPublished - 2010


  • Administration, Topical
  • Animals
  • Antibiotics, Antineoplastic
  • Apoptosis
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell
  • Cell Division
  • Cell Survival
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Doxorubicin
  • Humans
  • Keratinocytes
  • Keratosis, Actinic
  • Mice
  • Papilloma
  • Skin
  • Skin Neoplasms


Dive into the research topics of 'Topical application of valrubicin has a beneficial effect on developing skin tumors'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this