1.Sulindac, cis-5-fluoro-2-methyl-1-(p-methylsulphinylbenzylidene)indene-3-acetic acid, inhibits growth of colon polyps and cancers. This effect has been attributed to inhibition of prostaglandin synthesis but more recent observations indicate that, in vitro, cells that do not have cyclo-oxygenase nor RNA for synthesis of such enzymes are affected by sulindac. Therefore the presumptive effect is probably not correct.

2.It has also been found that sulindac stimulates apoptosis. It is herein postulated that in tumour cells such effects may be due to interaction of the anionic form of the drug with protons in the intermembrane space of mitochondria to disrupt the potential across the inner mitochondrial membrane and thereby initiate apoptosis. Normal cells are not affected.

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Author notes

Present address: P.O. Box 289, Silver City, NM 88062, U.S.A.