Triple combination of irradiation, chemotherapy (pemetrexed), and VEGFR inhibition (SU5416) in human endothelial and tumor cells. Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys

Department of Radiation Oncology, University of Heidelberg, Medical School, Heidelberg, Germany.
International Journal of Radiation OncologyBiologyPhysics (Impact Factor: 4.26). 12/2004; 60(4):1220-32. DOI: 10.1016/j.ijrobp.2004.07.689
Source: PubMed


This is the first preclinical report evaluating a trimodal therapy consisting of irradiation, chemotherapy, and antiangiogenesis in the context of a multimodal anticancer strategy. The combination of the folate antimetabolite pemetrexed, SU5416, a receptor tyrosine kinase inhibitor of VEGFR2, and irradiation was investigated in human endothelial cells and tumor cell lines.
Primary isolated human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVEC), human dermal microvascular endothelial cells (HDMEC), and human glioblastoma (U87) and prostate cancer cells (PC3) were exposed to pemetrexed (2 h) alone and in combination with SU5416 (2 h). When combined with irradiation up to 8 Gy, fixed concentrations of pemetrexed (1.06 muM) and SU5416 (1.0 muM) were used. Proliferation and clonogenic assays were conducted with endothelial and tumor cells. The migration/invasion ability of endothelial cells and the ability to produce tubular structures were tested in Matrigel and tube formation assays. Apoptosis was measured by sub-G1 DNA and caspase-3 flow cytometry. To investigate underlying cell signaling, immunocytochemistry was used to detect Akt survival signaling involvement.
Triple combination using only a low-toxicity drug exposure of pemetrexed and SU5416 results in greater response than each treatment alone or than each combination of two modalities in all tested endothelial and tumor cell models. Triple combination substantially inhibits proliferation, migration/invasion, tube formation, and clonogenic survival. Triple combination also induced the highest rate of apoptosis in HDMEC and HUVEC as indicated by sub-1 G1 and caspase-3 assessment. Interestingly, triple combination therapy also reduces proliferation and clonogenic survival significantly in U87 and PC3 tumor cell lines. SU5416 potently inhibited Akt phosphorylation which could be induced by radiation and radiochemotherapy in human endothelial cells.
Our findings demonstrate the high antiendothelial/antitumoral efficacy of the concurrent administration of irradiation, chemotherapy, and angiogenesis inhibition in vitro. A potential explanation for the favorable combination would be that VEGF signaling inhibition downregulates Akt survival signaling upon activation by radiation and/or chemotherapy. The data also suggest that endothelial cell apoptosis may have an important role in the benefits of the presented therapy.

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    • "Besides, Li et al., demonstrated an increase of Akt-Ser473 by pemetrexed in both dose- and time-dependent manners in erlotinib-resistant A549 cells [20]. Moreover, Bischof et al., showed that the administration of pemetrexed to human dermal microvascular endothelial cells induced the phosphorylation of Akt-Ser473 [36]. In agreement with these studies, we found that prolonged Akt activation was accompanied by the S-phase arrest and apoptosis in pemetrexed-treated NSCLC cell lines. "
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    ABSTRACT: Pemetrexed is approved for first-line and maintenance treatment of patients with advanced or metastatic non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC). The protein kinase Akt/protein kinase B is a well-known regulator of cell survival which is activated by pemetrexed, but its role in pemetrexed-mediated cell death and its molecular mechanisms are unclear. This study showed that stimulation with pemetrexed induced S-phase arrest and cell apoptosis and a parallel increase in sustained Akt phosphorylation and nuclear accumulation in the NSCLC A549 cell line. Inhibition of Akt expression by Akt specific siRNA blocked S-phase arrest and protected cells from apoptosis, indicating an unexpected proapoptotic role of Akt in the pemetrexed-mediated toxicity. Treatment of A549 cells with pharmacological inhibitors of phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3K), wortmannin and Ly294002, similarly inhibited pemetrexed-induced S-phase arrest and apoptosis and Akt phosphorylation, indicating that PI3K is an upstream mediator of Akt and is involved in pemetrexed-mediated cell death. Previously, we identified cyclin A-associated cyclin-dependent kinase 2 (Cdk2) as the principal kinase that was required for pemetrexed-induced S-phase arrest and apoptosis. The current study showed that inhibition of Akt function and expression by pharmacological inhibitors as well as Akt siRNA drastically inhibited cyclin A/Cdk2 activation. These pemetrexed-mediated biological and molecular events were also observed in a H1299 cell line. Overall, our results indicate that, in contrast to its normal prosurvival role, the activated Akt plays a proapoptotic role in pemetrexed-mediated S-phase arrest and cell death through a mechanism that involves Cdk2/cyclin A activation.
    Full-text · Article · May 2014 · PLoS ONE
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    • "These findings indicated a radiosensitizing effect of pemetrexed as it was previously reported in other in vitro and in vivo studies that combined pemetrexed with external radiation therapy (72, 73, 80, 81). An additional study was conducted with non-tumor-bearing mice over a time period of several months to investigate the potential impairment of the kidneys. "
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    ABSTRACT: Targeted radionuclide therapy is based on systemic application of particle-emitting radiopharmaceuticals which are directed toward a specific tumor-associated target. Accumulation of the radiopharmaceutical in targeted cancer cells results in high doses of absorbed radiation energy whereas toxicity to non-targeted healthy tissue is limited. This strategy has found widespread application in the palliative treatment of neuroendocrine tumors using somatostatin-based radiopeptides. The folate receptor (FR) has been identified as a target associated with a variety of frequent tumor types (e.g., ovarian, lung, brain, renal, and colorectal cancer). In healthy organs and tissue FR-expression is restricted to only a few sites such as for instance the kidneys. This demonstrates why FR-targeting is an attractive strategy for the development of new therapy concepts. Due to its high FR-binding affinity (K D < 10(-9) M) the vitamin folic acid has emerged as an almost ideal targeting agent. Therefore, a variety of folic acid radioconjugates for nuclear imaging have been developed. However, in spite of the large number of cancer patients who could benefit of a folate-based radionuclide therapy, a therapeutic concept with folate radioconjugates has not yet been envisaged for clinical application. The reason is the generally high accumulation of folate radioconjugates in the kidneys where emission of particle-radiation may result in damage to the renal tissue. Therefore, the design of more sophisticated folate radioconjugates providing improved tissue distribution profiles are needed. This review article summarizes recent developments with regard to a therapeutic application of folate radioconjugates. A new construct of a folate radioconjugate and an application protocol which makes use of a pharmacological interaction allowed the first preclinical therapy experiments with radiofolates. These results raise hope for future application of such new concepts also in the clinic.
    Full-text · Article · Sep 2013 · Frontiers in Oncology
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    • "The drugs mentioned above have modest effects on original breast cancer treatment, but none of them are significantly effective for breast cancer recurrence. Now the high anti-endothelial and anti-tumor efficacy of triple combination therapy including radiation therapy, chemotherapy (like pemetrexed), and VEGFR inhibition (SU5416, a receptor tyrosine kinase inhibitor of VEGFR2) are getting more and more attention to cause the apoptosis of both human endothelial cells and tumor cells to increase of survival and prevent tumor recurrence in patients.26 "
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    ABSTRACT: Tumors require blood supply to survive, grow, and metastasize. This involves the process of angiogenesis signaling for new blood vessel growth into a growing tumor mass. Understanding the mechanism of the angiogenic signaling pathway and neovascularization for breast cancer cell proliferation and growth would help to develop molecular interventions and achieve disease free survival. Our hypothesis is that the surviving cancer cell(s) after radiotherapy can initiate angiogenic signaling pathway in the neighboring endothelial cells resulting in neovascularization for breast cancer cell growth. The angiogenic signaling pathway is initiated by angiogenic factors, VEGF and FGF-2, through activation of a transcriptional regulator NF-κB, which in turn is triggered by therapeutic doses of radiation exposure Human breast adenocarcinoma cells (MCF-7 cells) were exposed to Cesium-137 ((137)Cs) γ rays to a total dose of 2 Gy at a dose rate of 1.03 Gy/min. The results of mobility shift assay showed that radiation at clinical doses (2 Gy) could induce NF-κB DNA-binding activity. Then, we examined the communication of angiogenic signals from irradiated MCF-7 cells to vascular endothelial cells. At the protein level, the western blot showed induction of angiogenic factors VEGF and FGF-2 in MCF-7 cells irradiated with 2 Gy. Inhibition of NF-κB activation attenuated VEGF and FGF-2 levels. These factors are secreted into the medium. The levels of VEGF and FGF-2 in the extra cellular medium were both increased, after 2 Gy exposures. We also observed corresponding expression of VEGFR2 and FGFR1 in non-irradiated endothelial cells that were co-cultured with irradiated MCF-7 cells. In support of this, in vitro tube formation assays provided evidence that irradiated MCF-7 cells transmit signals to potentiate cultured non-irradiated endothelial cells to form tube networks, which is the hallmark of neovascularization. Inhibition of NF-κB activation attenuated irradiated MCF-7-induced tube network formation. The data provide evidence that the radiation exposure is responsible for tumor growth and maintenance by inducing an angiogenic signaling pathway through activation of NF-κB.
    Preview · Article · Jul 2012 · Breast cancer
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