Schedule-dependent antitumor activity of the combination with erlotinib and docetaxel in human non-small cell lung cancer cells with EGFR mutation, KRAS mutation or both wild-type EGFR and KRAS
Erlotinib is used as a standard treatment for recurrent advanced non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). Epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) mutations in NSCLC have been shown to be a predictive factor of erlotinib, although the relationship between K-ras oncogene (KRAS) mutations and erlotinib resistance is controversial. Recently, in vitro sequence-dependent interactions of erlotinib and docetaxel have been studied on as a novel therapeutic approach against NSCLC. The purpose of the present study was to determine the optimum novel regimen of erlotinib and docetaxel against NSCLC cells which have EGFR mutation (HCC827 cells), KRAS mutation (A549 cells) or both wild-type (NCI-H292 cells). First, we analyzed the effects of in vitro combination for cell proliferation-inhibition using a combination index. In all cell lines, docetaxel followed by erlotinib treatment showed nearly additive effects. On the other hand, erlotinib followed by docetaxel treatment showed remarkable antagonistic interactions. Second, we examined the effect of combinations on the in vitro apoptosis induction. Erlotinib followed by docetaxel treatment reduced apoptosis induction compared with docetaxel alone; in contrast, docetaxel followed by erlotinib treatment had no inhibitory effects on docetaxel-induced apoptosis in any of the cell lines. Finally, an in vivo tumor growth inhibition test was performed using xenograft models. Docetaxel followed by erlotinib administration resulted in significant tumor growth inhibition compared with erlotinib or docetaxel monotherapy in all models. In conclusion, we demonstrated that docetaxel followed by erlotinib therapy was a potentially optimum regimen against NSCLC regardless of the mutation status of EGFR and KRAS.
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