Radiotherapy is one of the major treatment modalities for the management of various cancers, however, it is limited by the severe side effects and complications experienced by some patients. Nicaraven, a chemically synthesized hydroxyl radical-specific scavenger, has been shown to protect normal tissues from radiation-induced injury. We investigated the role of nicaraven in cancer cells and tumor growth. While nicaraven did not significantly change the colony-forming abilities and DNA damage levels in several cancer cell lines after irradiation, it significantly protected mouse bone marrow-derived hematopoietic stem cells from radiation injury. In established mouse tumor models in which radiation exposure significantly inhibited the growth of tumors, nicaraven did not significantly mitigate the radiation-induced inhibition of tumor growth. The results of this study showed that while nicaraven attenuated the toxicity of radiotherapy in hematopoietic stem cells, it had very limited effects on the survival of cancer cells and tumor growth. Nicaraven may be an ideal drug for mitigating the side effects of radiotherapy in patients with cancer.

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