Radiation-induced gastric bleeding has been poorly understood. In this study, we describe dosimetric predictors for gastric bleeding after fractionated radiotherapy and compare several predictive models.
Materials & Methods
The records of 139 sequential patients treated with 3-dimensional conformal radiotherapy (3D-CRT) for intrahepatic malignancies between January 1999 and April 2002 were reviewed. Median follow-up was 7.4 months. Logistic regression and Lyman normal tissue complication probability (NTCP) models for the occurrence of ≥ grade 3 gastric bleed were fit to the data. The principle of maximum likelihood was used to estimate parameters for all models.
Sixteen of 116 evaluable patients (14%) developed gastric bleeds, at a median time of 4.0 months (mean 6.5 months, range 2.1–28.3 months) following completion of RT. The median and mean of the maximum doses to the stomach were 61 and 63 Gy (range 46 Gy–86 Gy), respectively, after bio-correction to equivalent 2 Gy daily fractions. The Lyman NTCP model with parameters adjusted for cirrhosis was most predictive of gastric bleed (AUROC=0.92). Best fit Lyman NTCP model parameters were n =0.10, and m =0.21, with TD50(normal) =56 Gy and TD50(cirrhosis) = 22 Gy. The low n value is consistent with the importance of maximum dose; a lower TD50 value for the cirrhosis patients points out their greater sensitivity.
This study demonstrates that the Lyman NTCP model has utility for predicting gastric bleeding, and that the presence of cirrhosis greatly increases this risk. These findings should facilitate the design of future clinical trials involving high-dose upper abdominal radiation.
NTCP; Gastric Bleed; Hepatic Irradiation; Complications
Survival of patients with brain metastasis particularly from historically more radio-resistant malignancies remains dismal. A phase I study of concurrent bortezomib and whole brain radiotherapy was conducted to determine the tolerance and safety of this approach in patients with previously untreated brain metastasis.
A phase I dose escalation study evaluated the safety of bortezomib (0.9, 1.1, 1.3, 1.5, and 1.7 mg/m2) given on days 1, 4, 8 and 11 of whole brain radiotherapy. Patients with confirmed brain metastasis were recruited for participation. The primary endpoint was the dose-limiting toxicity, defined as any ≥ grade 3 non-hematologic toxicity or grade ≥ 4 hematologic toxicity from the start of treatment to one month post irradiation. Time-to-Event Continual Reassessment Method (TITE-CRM) was used to determine dose escalation. A companion study of brain diffusion tensor imaging MRI was conducted on a subset of patients to assess changes in the brain that might predict delayed cognitive effects.
Twenty-four patients were recruited and completed the planned therapy. Patients with melanoma accounted for 83% of all participants. The bortezomib dose was escalated as planned to the highest dose of 1.7 mg/m2/dose. No grade 4/5 toxicities related to treatment were observed. Two patients had grade 3 dose-limiting toxicities (hyponatremia and encephalopathy). A partial or minor response was observed in 38% of patients. Bortezomib showed greater demyelination in hippocampus-associated white matter structures on MRI one month after radiotherapy compared to patients not treated with bortezomib (increase in radial diffusivity +16.8% versus 4.8%; p = 0.0023).
Concurrent bortezomib and whole brain irradiation for brain metastasis is well tolerated at one month follow-up, but MRI changes that have been shown to predict delayed cognitive function can be detected within one month of treatment.
Radiation; Brain; Melanoma; Bortezomib; Phase I; TITE-CRM; Diffusion tensor imaging; MRI
Diffuse intrahepatic tumors are difficult to control. Whole liver radiotherapy has been limited by toxicity, most notably radiation-induced liver disease (RILD). Amifostine is a prodrug free-radical scavenger that selectively protects normal tissues and, in a preclinical model of intrahepatic cancer, systemic amifostine reduced normal liver radiation damage without compromising tumor effect.(1) We hypothesized that amifostine would permit escalation of whole liver radiation dose to potentially control microscopic disease. We also aimed to characterize the pharmacokinetics of amifostine and its active metabolite WR-1065 to optimize timing of radiotherapy.
METHODS AND MATERIALS
We conducted a radiation dose escalation trial for patients with diffuse, intrahepatic cancer treated with whole liver radiation and intravenous amifostine. Radiation dose was assigned using the Time-to-Event Continual Reassessment Method. A companion pharmacokinetic study was performed.
23 patients were treated, with a maximum dose of 40 Gy. Using a logistical regression model, compared to our previously treated patients, amifostine increased liver tolerance by 3.3 ± 1.1 Gy (p=0.007) (approximately 10%) with similar response rates. Peak concentrations of WR-1065 were 25 μM with an elimination half life of 1.5 hours; these levels are consistent with radioprotective effects of amifostine in patients.
These findings demonstrate for the first time that amifostine is a normal liver radioprotector. They further suggest that it may be useful to combine amifostine with fractionated or stereotactic body radiation therapy for patients with focal intrahepatic cancer.
Amifostine; Liver Radiation; Radioprotector
OBJECTIVES: The full potential of stereotactic body radiation therapy (SBRT), in the treatment of unresectable intrahepatic malignancies, has yet to be realized as our experience is still limited. Thus, we evaluated SBRT outcomes for primary and metastatic liver tumors, with the goal of identifying factors that may aid in optimization of therapy. METHODS: From 2005 to 2010, 62 patients with 106 primary and metastatic liver tumors were treated with SBRT to a median biologic effective dose (BED) of 100 Gy (42.6–180). The majority of patients received either three (47%) or five fractions (48%). Median gross tumor volume (GTV) was 8.8 cm3 (0.2–222.4). RESULTS: With a median follow-up of 18 months (0.46–46.8), freedom from local progression (FFLP) was observed in 97 of 106 treated tumors, with 1- and 2-year FFLP rates of 93% and 82%. Median overall survival (OS) for all patients was 25.2 months, with 1- and 2-year OS of 81% and 52%. Neither BED nor GTV significantly predicted for FFLP. Local failure was associated with a higher risk of death [hazard ratio (HR) = 5.1, P = .0007]. One Child-Pugh Class B patient developed radiation-induced liver disease. There were no other significant toxicities. CONCLUSIONS: SBRT provides excellent local control for both primary and metastatic liver lesions with minimal toxicity. Future studies should focus on appropriate selection of patients and on careful assessment of liver function to maximize both the safety and efficacy of treatment.
Receptor tyrosine kinases (RTK) are therapeutic targets for the treatment of malignancy. However, tumor cells develop resistance to targeted therapies through the activation of parallel signaling cascades. Recent evidence has shown that redundant or compensatory survival signals responsible for resistance are initiated by nontargeted glycoprotein RTKs coexpressed by the cell. We hypothesized that disrupting specific functions of the posttranslational machinery of the secretory pathway would be an effective strategy to target both primary and redundant RTK signaling. Using the N-linked glycosylation inhibitor, tunicamycin, we show that expression levels of several RTKS (EGFR, ErbB2, ErbB3, and IGF-IR) are exquisitely sensitive to inhibition of N-linked glycosylation. Disrupting this synthetic process reduces both cellular protein levels and receptor activity in tumor cells through retention of the receptors in the endoplasmic reticulum/Golgi compartments. Using U251 glioma and BXPC3 pancreatic adenocarcinoma cell lines, two cell lines resistant to epidermal growth factor receptor–targeted therapies, we show that inhibiting N-linked glycosylation markedly reduces RTK signaling through Akt and radiosensitizes tumor cells. In comparison, experiments in nontransformed cells showed neither a reduction in RTK-dependent signaling nor an enhancement in radiosensitivity, suggesting the potential for a therapeutic ratio between tumors and normal tissues. This study provides evidence that enzymatic steps regulating N-linked glycosylation are novel targets for developing approaches to sensitize tumor cells to cytotoxic therapies.
There is an urgent need for the development of novel therapies to treat pancreatic cancer, which is among the most lethal of all cancers. KRAS activating mutations, which are found in >90% of pancreatic adenocarcinomas, drive tumor dependency on the Ras/MAPK and Akt signaling pathways. Radiation is currently being explored as a component of the standard treatment regimen for pancreatic cancer. This study’s purpose was to test the hypothesis that MEK inhibitors will offer clear therapeutic benefit when integrated into radiotherapy treatment regimens for treatment of this disease. We explored the activation of the MAPK and Akt pathways in response to radiation in multiple pancreatic tumor cell lines. Small molecule inhibitors of MEK (PD0325901) and Akt (API-2) were subsequently evaluated for their radiosensitizing potential alone and in combination. In vivo efficacy was tested in subcutaneous MIA-PaCa2 xenografts. Phosphorylated levels of ERK-1/2 and Akt were found to increase in response to radiation treatment in our pancreatic tumor cell line panel. MEK inhibitor-induced radiosensitization was observed in vitro and in vivo. The further addition of an Akt inhibitor to the MEK inhibitor/radiation regimen resulted in enhanced therapeutic gain as determined by increased radiosensitization and tumor cell death. In conclusion, MEK inhibition results in growth arrest, apoptosis, and radiosensitization of multiple preclinical pancreatic tumor models, and the effects can be enhanced by combination with an Akt inhibitor. These results provide rationale for further testing of a treatment regimen in pancreatic cancer that combines MEK inhibition with radiation, optimally in conjunction with Akt inhibition.
MEK-1/2; Akt; PI3-kinase; Radiation; Pancreatic Cancer
To determine whether early assessment of cerebral white matter degradation can predict late delayed cognitive decline after radiation therapy (RT).
Methods and Materials
Ten patients undergoing conformal fractionated brain RT participated in a prospective diffusion tensor magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) study. MRI was acquired prior to RT, 3 weeks and 6 weeks during RT, and 10, 30, and 78 weeks after starting RT. Diffusivity variables in the parahippocampal cingulum bundle and temporal lobe white matter were computed. Quality of life (QOL) survey and neurocognitive function tests were administered pre-RT and at post-RT MRI follow-ups.
In both structures, longitudinal diffusivity (λ||) decreased and perpendicular diffusivity (λ⊥) increased following RT, with early changes correlating to later changes (p < 0.05). Radiation dose correlated with increase in cingulum λ⊥ at 3 weeks, and patients with >50% of cingula volume receiving >12 Gy had a higher increase in λ⊥ at 3 weeks and 6 weeks (p < 0.05). Post-RT changes in verbal recall scores were linearly correlated with late changes in cingulum λ|| (30 weeks, p < 0.02). By receiver operating characteristic curves, early cingulum λ|| changes predicted post-RT changes in verbal recall scores (3 weeks and 6 weeks, p < 0.05). Neurocognitive test scores were significantly correlated with QOL survey results.
The correlation between early diffusivity changes in the parahippocampal cingulum and the late decline in verbal recall suggests that diffusion tensor imaging may be useful as a biomarker for predicting late delayed cognitive decline.
diffusion tensor imaging; neurocognitive function; late-delayed effects; biomarker; quality of life
PURPOSE: The inherent treatment resistance of glioblastoma (GBM) can involve multiple mechanisms including checkpoint kinase (Chk1/2)-mediated increased DNA repair capability, which can attenuate the effects of genotoxic chemotherapies and radiation. The goal of this study was to evaluate diffusion-weighted magnetic resonance imaging (DW-MRI) as a biomarker for Chk1/2 inhibitors in combination with radiation for enhancement of treatment efficacy in GBM. EXPERIMENTAL DESIGN: We evaluated a specific small molecule inhibitor of Chk1/2, AZD7762, in combination with radiation using in vitro human cell lines and in vivo using a genetically engineered GBM mouse model. DW-MRI and T1-contrast MRI were used to follow treatment effects on intracranial tumor cellularity and growth rates, respectively. RESULTS: AZD7762 inhibited clonal proliferation in a panel of GBM cell lines and increased radiosensitivity in p53-mutated GBM cell lines to a greater extent compared to p53 wild-type cells. In vivo efficacy of AZD7762 demonstrated a dose-dependent inhibitory effect on GBM tumor growth rate and a reduction in tumor cellularity based on DW-MRI scans along with enhancement of radiation efficacy. CONCLUSION: DW-MRI was found to be a useful imaging biomarker for the detection of radiosensitization through inhibition of checkpoint kinases. Chk1/2 inhibition resulted in antiproliferative activity, prevention of DNA damage-induced repair, and radiosensitization in preclinical GBM tumor models, both in vitro and in vivo. The effects were found to be maximal in p53-mutated GBM cells. These results provide the rationale for integration of DW-MRI in clinical translation of Chk1/2 inhibition with radiation for the treatment of GBM.
There is little known about how brain white matter structures differ in their response to radiation, which may have implications for radiation-induced neurocognitive impairment. We used diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) to examine regional variation in white matter changes following chemoradiotherapy.
Fourteen patients receiving two or three weeks of whole-brain radiation therapy (RT) ± chemotherapy underwent DTI pre-RT, at end-RT, and one month post-RT. Three diffusion indices were measured: fractional anisotropy (FA), radial diffusivity (RD), and axial diffusivity (AD). We determined significant individual voxel changes of diffusion indices using tract-based spatial statistics, and mean changes of the indices within fourteen white matter structures of interest.
Voxels of significant FA decreases and RD increases were seen in all structures (p<0.05), with the largest changes (20–50%) in the fornix, cingula, and corpus callosum. There were highly significant between-structure differences in pre-RT to end-RT mean FA changes (p<0.001). The inferior cingula had a mean FA decrease from pre-RT to end-RT significantly greater than 11 of the 13 other structures (p<0.00385).
Brain white matter structures varied greatly in their response to chemoradiotherapy as measured by DTI changes. Changes in FA and RD related to white matter demyelination were prominent in the cingula and fornix, structures relevant to radiation-induced neurocognitive impairment. Future research should evaluate DTI as a predictive biomarker of brain chemoradiotherapy adverse effects.
The efficacy of radiation therapy for lung cancer is limited by radiation-induced lung toxicity (RILT). Although tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-α) signaling plays a critical role in RILT, the molecular regulators of radiation-induced TNF-α production remain unknown. We investigated the role of a major TNF-α regulator, Tristetraprolin (TTP), in radiation-induced TNF-α production by macrophages. For in vitro studies we irradiated (4 Gy) either a mouse lung macrophage cell line, MH-S or macrophages isolated from TTP knockout mice, and studied the effects of radiation on TTP and TNF-α levels. To study the in vivo relevance, mouse lungs were irradiated with a single dose (15 Gy) and assessed at varying times for TTP alterations. Irradiation of MH-S cells caused TTP to undergo an inhibitory phosphorylation at Ser-178 and proteasome-mediated degradation, which resulted in increased TNF-α mRNA stabilization and secretion. Similarly, MH-S cells treated with TTP siRNA or macrophages isolated from ttp (−/−) mice had higher basal levels of TNF-α, which was increased minimally after irradiation. Conversely, cells overexpressing TTP mutants defective in undergoing phosphorylation released significantly lower levels of TNF-α. Inhibition of p38, a known kinase for TTP, by either siRNA or a small molecule inhibitor abrogated radiation-induced TNF-α release by MH-S cells. Lung irradiation induced TTPSer178 phosphorylation and protein degradation and a simultaneous increase in TNF-α production in C57BL/6 mice starting 24 h post-radiation. In conclusion, irradiation of lung macrophages causes TTP inactivation via p38-mediated phosphorylation and proteasome-mediated degradation, leading to TNF-α production. These findings suggest that agents capable of blocking TTP phosphorylation or stabilizing TTP after irradiation could decrease RILT.
Radiotherapy is used in locally advanced pancreatic cancers where it can improve survival in combination with gemcitabine. However, prognosis is still poor in this setting where more effective therapies remain needed. MLN4924 is an investigational small molecule currently in Phase I clinical trials. MLN4924 inhibits NAE (NEDD8 Activating Enzyme), a pivotal regulator of the E3 ubiquitin ligase SCF (SKP1, Cullins, and F-box protein), that has been implicated recently in DNA repair. In this study, we provide evidence that MLN4924 can be used as an effective radiosensitizer in pancreatic cancer. Specifically, MLN4924 (20–100 nM) effectively inhibited cullin neddylation and sensitized pancreatic cancer cells to ionizing radiation in vitro with a sensitivity enhancement ratio (SER) of ~1.5. Mechanistically, MLN4924 treatment stimulated an accumulation of several SCF substrates, including CDT1, WEE1 and NOXA, in parallel with an enhancement of radiation-induced DNA damage, aneuploidy, G2/M phase cell cycle arrest and apoptosis. RNAi-mediated knockdown of CDT1 and WEE1 partially abrogated MLN4924-induced aneuploidy, G2/M arrest, and radiosensization, indicating a causal effect. Further, MLN4924 was an effective radiosensitizer in mouse xenograft models of human pancreatic cancer. Our findings offer proof of concept for use of MLN4924 as a novel class of radiosensitizer for the treatment of pancreatic cancer.
NAE inhibitor; MLN4924; CRL/SCF E3 ubiquitin ligase; radiosensitization; DNA damage; pancreatic cancer cells
To determine the maximum tolerated dose (MTD) of radiation (RT) with concurrent temozolomide (TMZ) in patients with newly diagnosed glioblastoma (GBM), to estimate their progression free (PFS) and overall survival (OS), and to assess the role of 11C methionine PET (MET-PET) imaging in predicting recurrence.
Methods and Materials
Intensity modulated RT (IMRT) doses of 66–81 Gy, assigned to patients by the time-to-event continual reassessment method, were delivered over 6 wks with concurrent daily TMZ (75 mg/m2) followed by adjuvant cyclic TMZ (200 mg/m2 d1-5 q28d x6 cycles). Treatment was based on gadolinium-enhanced MRI. Pretreatment MET-PET scans were obtained for correlation with eventual sites of failure.
38 patients were analyzed with a median follow-up of 54 months for patients who remain alive. Late CNS grade≥3 toxicity was observed at 78 (2 pts of 7) and 81 Gy (1 pt of 9). None of 22 patients receiving ≤75 Gy developed radiation necrosis. Median OS and PFS were 20.1(14.0, 32.5) and 9.0 (6.0, 11.7) months, respectively. Twenty-two of 32 patients with pretreatment MET PET uptake showed uptake beyond the contrast-enhanced MRI. Patients whose treatment did not include the region of increased MET-PET uptake demonstrated an increased risk of non-central failure (p<0.001).
GBM patients can safely receive standard TMZ with 75 Gy in 30 fractions, delivered using IMRT. The median OS of 20.1 months is promising. Furthermore, MET-PET appears to predict regions of high risk of recurrence not defined by MRI, suggesting that further improvements may be possible by targeting metabolically active regions.
We have recently shown that inhibition of HRR (homologous recombination repair) by Chk1 (checkpoint kinase 1) inhibition radiosensitizes pancreatic cancer cells, and others have demonstrated that Chk1 inhibition selectively sensitizes p53 mutant tumor cells. Furthermore, PARP1 [poly (ADP-ribose) polymerase-1] inhibitors dramatically radiosensitize cells with DNA double-strand break repair defects. Thus, we hypothesized that inhibition of HRR (mediated by Chk1 via AZD7762) and PARP1 [via olaparib (AZD2281)] would selectively sensitize p53 mutant pancreatic cancer cells to radiation. We also used two isogenic p53 cell models to assess the role of p53 status in cancer cells and intestinal epithelial cells to assess overall cancer specificity. DNA damage response and repair were assessed by flow cytometry, γH2AX and an HRR reporter assay. We found that the combination of AZD7762 and olaparib produced significant radiosensitization in p53 mutant pancreatic cancer cells and in all of the isogenic cancer cell lines. The magnitude of radiosensitization by AZD7762 and olaparib was greater in p53 mutant cells compared with p53 wild-type cells. Importantly, normal intestinal epithelial cells were not radiosensitized. The combination of AZD7762 and olaparib caused G2 checkpoint abrogation, inhibition of HRR and persistent DNA damage responses. These findings demonstrate that the combination of Chk1 and PARP1 inhibition selectively radiosensitizes p53 mutant pancreatic cancer cells. Furthermore, these studies suggest that inhibition of HRR by Chk1 inhibitors may be a useful strategy for selectively inducing a BRCA1/2 “deficient-like” phenotype in p53 mutant tumor cells, while sparing normal tissue.
pancreatic cancer; Chk1; PARP1; radiosensitization; p53
Redundant receptor tyrosine kinase (RTK) signaling is a mechanism for therapeutic resistance to EGFR inhibition. A strategy to reduce parallel signaling by co-expressed RTKs is inhibition of N-linked glycosylation (NLG), an endoplasmic reticulum (ER) co-translational protein modification required for receptor maturation and cell surface expression. We therefore investigated the feasibility of blocking NLG in vivo to reduce over-expression of RTKs.
We developed a model system to dynamically monitor NLG in vitro and in vivo using bioluminescent imaging techniques. Functional imaging of NLG is accomplished with a luciferase reporter (ER-LucT) modified for ER-translation and glycosylation. After in vitro validation, this reporter was integrated with D54 glioma xenografts to perform non-invasive imaging of tumors, and inhibition of NLG was correlated with RTK protein levels and tumor growth.
The ER-LucT reporter demonstrates the ability to sensitively and specifically detect NLG inhibition. Using this molecular imaging approach we performed serial imaging studies to determine safe and efficacious in vivo dosing of the GlcNAc-1-phosphotransferase inhibitor, tunicamycin, which blocks N-glycan precursor biosynthesis. Molecular analyses of tunicamycin treated tumors showed reduced levels of EGFR and Met, two RTKs over-expressed in gliomas. Furthermore, D54 and U87MG glioma xenograft tumor experiments demonstrated significant reductions in tumor growth following NLG inhibition and radiation therapy, consistent with an enhancement in tumor radiosensitivity.
This study suggests NLG inhibition is a novel therapeutic strategy for targeting EGFR and RTK signaling in both gliomas and other malignant tumors.
Glycosylation; Radiation; EGFR; Met
The epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) has been targeted for inhibition using tyrosine kinase inhibitors and monoclonal antibodies, with improvement in outcome in subsets of patients with head and neck, lung, and colorectal carcinomas. We have previously found that EGFR stability plays a key role in cell survival after chemotherapy and radiotherapy. Heat shock protein 90 (HSP90) is known to stabilize mutant EGFR and ErbB2, but its role in cancers with wild-type (WT) WT-EGFR is unclear. In this report, we demonstrate that fully mature, membrane-bound WT-EGFR interacts with HSP90 independent of ErbB2. Further, the HSP90 inhibitors geldanamycin (GA) and AT13387 cause a decrease in WT-EGFR in cultured head and neck cancer cells. This decrease results from a significantly reduced half-life of WT-EGFR. WT-EGFR was also lost in head and neck xenograft specimens after treatment with AT13387 under conditions that inhibited tumor growth and prolonged survival of the mice. Our findings demonstrate that WT-EGFR is a client protein of HSP90 and that their interaction is critical for maintaining both the stability of the receptor as well as the growth of EGFR-dependent cancers. Furthermore, these findings support the search for specific agents that disrupt HSP90's ability to act as an EGFR chaperone.
Currently, radiologic response of brain tumors is assessed according to the Macdonald criteria 10 weeks from the start of therapy. There exists a critical need to identify non-responding patients early in the course of their therapy for consideration of alternative treatment strategies. Our study assessed the effectiveness of the Parametric Response Map (PRM) imaging biomarker to provide for an earlier measure of patient survival prediction.
Forty-five high grade glioma patients received concurrent chemoradiation. Quantitative MRI including apparent diffusion coefficient (ADC) and relative cerebral blood volume (rCBV) maps were acquired pre-treatment and 3 weeks mid-treatment on a prospective institutional-approved study. PRM, a voxel-by-voxel image analysis method, was evaluated as an early prognostic biomarker of overall survival. Clinical and conventional MR parameters were also evaluated.
Multivariate analysis showed that PRMADC+ in combination with PRMrCBV- obtained at week 3 had a stronger correlation to one-year and overall survival rates than any baseline clinical or treatment response imaging metric. The composite biomarker identified three distinct patient groups, non-responders (median survival (MS) of 5.5 months CI: 4.4-6.6) months, partial responders (MS of 16 months CI: 8.6-23.4) and responders (MS has not yet been reached.)
Inclusion of PRMADC+ and PRMrCBV- into a single imaging biomarker metric provided early identification of patients resistant to standard chemoradiation. In comparison to the current standard of assessment of response at 10 weeks (MacDonald Criteria) the composite PRM biomarker potentially provides a useful opportunity for clinicians to identify patients who may benefit from alternative treatment strategies.
DW-MRI; DSC-MRI; glioma; prospective trial; treatment response
Chk1 inhibitors, such as AZD7762 are in clinical development in combination with cytotoxic agents for the treatment of solid tumors, including pancreatic cancers. To maximize the likelihood of their clinical success, it is essential to optimize drug scheduling as well as pharmacodynamic biomarkers in preclinical models.
We tested multiple schedules of administration of gemcitabine and AZD7762 on the survival of pancreatic cancer cells. Potential pharmacodynamic biomarkers including pChk1, pChk2, pHistone H3, and caspase-3 were evaluated in vitro, followed by assessment of promising candidate biomarkers in vivo. We then went on to determine the contributions of PP2A and DNA damage to the mechanism(s) of induction of the identified biomarker, pS345 Chk1.
AZD7762 given during and after or after gemcitabine administration produced maximum chemosensitization. In vivo, AZD7762 significantly inhibited the growth of pancreatic tumor xenografts in response to gemcitabine. Of the biomarkers assessed, pS345 Chk1 was most consistently increased in response to gemcitabine and AZD7762 in tumors and normal tissues (hair follicles). pS345 Chk1 induction in response to gemcitabine and AZD7762 occurred in the presence of PP2A inhibition and in association with elevated γH2AX, suggesting that DNA damage is an underlying mechanism.
AZD7762 sensitizes pancreatic cancer cells and tumors to gemcitabine in association with induction of pS345 Chk1. Together these data support the clinical investigation of AZD7762 with gemcitabine in pancreatic cancer under a dosing schedule in which gemcitabine is administered concurrent with or prior to AZD7762 and in conjunction with skin biopsies to measure pS345 Chk1.
pancreatic cancer; Chk1; chemosensitization; gemcitabine; pharmacodynamic biomarker
Checkpoint kinase 1 (Chk1) inhibition sensitizes pancreatic cancer cells and tumors to gemcitabine. We hypothesized that Chk1 inhibition would sensitize pancreatic cancer stem cells to gemcitabine. We tested this hypothesis by using two patient-derived xenograft models (designated J and F) and the pancreatic cancer stem cell markers CD24, CD44, and ESA. We determined the percentage of marker-positive cells and their tumor-initiating capacity (by limiting dilution assays) after treatment with gemcitabine and the Chk1 inhibitor, AZD7762. We found that marker-positive cells were significantly reduced by the combination of gemcitabine and AZD7762. In addition, secondary tumor initiation was significantly delayed in response to primary tumor treatment with gemcitabine + AZD7762 compared with control, gemcitabine, or AZD7762 alone. Furthermore, for the same number of stem cells implanted from gemcitabine- versus gemcitabine + AZD7762-treated primary tumors, secondary tumor initiation at 10 weeks was 83% versus 43%, respectively. We also found that pS345 Chk1, which is a measure of DNA damage, was induced in marker-positive cells but not in the marker-negative cells. These data demonstrate that Chk1 inhibition in combination with gemcitabine reduces both the percentage and the tumor-initiating capacity of pancreatic cancer stem cells. Furthermore, the finding that the Chk1-mediated DNA damage response was greater in stem cells than in non-stem cells suggests that Chk1 inhibition may selectively sensitize pancreatic cancer stem cells to gemcitabine, thus making Chk1 a potential therapeutic target for improving pancreatic cancer therapy.
The effectiveness of the radiosensitizer gemcitabine (GEM) was evaluated in a mouse glioma along with the imaging biomarker diffusion-weighted magnetic resonance imaging (DW-MRI) for early detection of treatment effects. A genetically engineered murine GBM model [Ink4a-Arf−/− PtenloxP/loxP/Ntv-a RCAS/PDGF(+)/Cre(+)] was treated with gemcitabine (GEM), temozolomide (TMZ) +/− ionizing radiation (IR). Therapeutic efficacy was quantified by contrast-enhanced MRI and DW-MRI for growth rate and tumor cellularity, respectively. Mice treated with GEM, TMZ and radiation showed a significant reduction in growth rates as early as three days post-treatment initiation. Both combination treatments (GEM/IR and TMZ/IR) resulted in improved survival over single therapies. Tumor diffusion values increased prior to detectable changes in tumor volume growth rates following administration of therapies. Concomitant GEM/IR and TMZ/IR was active and well tolerated in this GBM model and similarly prolonged median survival of tumor bearing mice. DW-MRI provided early changes to radiosensitization treatment warranting evaluation of this imaging biomarker in clinical trials.
Chemoradiation is the treatment of choice for locally advanced head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC). However, radioresistance, which contributes to local recurrence, remains a significant therapeutic problem. In this study, we characterized SM-164, a small SMAC mimetic compound that promotes degradation of cIAP-1 (also known as BIRC2) and releases active caspases from XIAP inhibitory binding, as a radiosensitizing agent in HNSCC cells. We found that SM-164 at nanomolar concentrations induced radiosensitization in some HNSCC cell lines in a manner dependent on intrinsic sensitivity to caspase activation and apoptosis induction. Blockage of caspase activation via siRNA knockdown or a pan-caspase inhibitor, z-VAD-fmk largely abrogated SM-164 radiosensitization. On the other hand, the resistant lines with a high level of BCL-2 that blocks caspase activation and apoptosis induction became sensitive to radiation upon BCL-2 knockdown. Mechanistic studies revealed that SM-164 radiosensitization in sensitive cells was associated with NFκB activation and TNFα secretion, followed by activation of caspases-8 and -9, leading to enhanced apoptosis. Finally, SM-164 also radiosensitized human tumor xenograft, while causing minimal toxicity. Thus, SM-164 is a potent radiosensitizer via a mechanism involving caspase activation and holds promise for future clinical development as a novel class of radiosensitizer for the treatment of a subset of head and neck cancer patients.
Apoptosis; NF-κB activation; TNFα secretion; Caspase activation; cIAP-1 degradation; Radiosensitization
Here we describe the Parametric Response Map (PRM), a voxel-wise approach for image analysis and quantification of hemodynamic alterations during treatment for 44 patients with high-grade glioma. Relative cerebral blood volume (rCBV) and flow (rCBF) maps were acquired before treatment and after 1 and 3 weeks of therapy. We compared the standard approach using region-of-interest analysis for change in rCBV or rCBF to the change in perfusion parameters on the basis of PRM (PRMrCBV and PRMrCBF) for their accuracy in predicting overall survival. Neither the percentage change of rCBV or rCBF predicted survival, whereas the regional response evaluations based upon PRM were highly predictive of survival. Even when accounting for baseline rCBV, which is prognostic, PRMrCBV proved more predictive of overall survival.
The standard approach of using tumor doubling time to assess growth delay may not accurately represent tumor response, especially if the growth rates are not constant. Therefore, we developed a method to compare the antitumor activities of different treatments in xenograft experiments that uses the entire growth curve to estimate non-constant growth rates.
A Bayesian hierarchical changepoint (BHC) method was used to model logarithmically transformed tumor volumes. Each tumor was assumed to have a growth profile, represented by a pre-nadir regression rate, a regression period, a nadir volume, and a post-nadir regrowth rate. Confidence intervals were calculated to compare these features between different treatments. We used data from a study assessing the effects of radiation, gemcitabine, and a Chk1/2 inhibitor on MiaPaCa-2 xenografts.
We found that the BHC model provided a good fit to the data and more descriptive features than the tumor doubling approach. This model detected significant tumor regression in the AZD7762+1Gy and GEM+1Gy that was not detected when comparing the tumor doubling times. The BHC model also provided evidence that the growth inhibition resulted from a direct tumor effect rather than an indirect effect on the tumor bed, as evidenced by dramatic tumor regression in response to effective treatments and similar post-nadir regrowth rates across all treatment groups.
Compared with the tumor doubling time approach, the BHC model utilizes all data, providing more descriptive features that address mechanisms underlying tumor growth inhibition and maximize the biological information obtained from tumor xenografts studies.
Xenograft model; changepoint model; tumor doubling time; growth delay; tumor growth profile; Bayesian model
To investigate the effect of a metronomic (low dose, high frequency) small molecule inhibitor of Bcl-2 (TW-37) in combination with radiotherapy on microvascular endothelial cells in vitro and in tumor angiogenesis in vivo.
Methods and materials
Primary human dermal microvascular endothelial cells (HDMEC) were exposed to ionizing radiation and/or TW-37, and colony formation as well as capillary sprouting in 3-D collagen matrices, was evaluated. Xenografts vascularized with human blood vessels were engineered by co-transplantation of human squamous cell carcinoma cells (OSCC3) and HDMEC seeded in highly porous biodegradable scaffolds into the subcutaneous space of immunodeficient mice. Mice were treated with metronomic TW-37 and/or radiation, and tumor growth was evaluated.
Low dose TW-37 sensitized primary endothelial cells to radiation-induced inhibition of colony formation. Low dose TW-37 or radiation partially inhibited endothelial cell sprout formation, while in combination these therapies abrogated new sprouting. Combination of metronomic TW-37 and low dose radiation inhibited tumor growth and resulted in significant increase in time to failure as compared to controls, whereas single agents did not. Notably, histopathological analysis revealed that tumors treated with TW-37 (with or without radiation) are more differentiated and showed more cohesive invasive fronts, which is consistent with less aggressive phenotype.
These results demonstrate that metronomic TW-37 potentiates the anti-tumor effects of radiotherapy, and suggest that patients with head and neck cancer might benefit from the combination of small molecule inhibitor of Bcl-2 and radiation therapy.
Developmental therapeutics; Radiotherapy; Head and Neck Cancer; Apoptosis; Neovascularization
Tumor radioresistance leads to recurrence after radiation therapy. The radioresistant phenotype has been hypothesized to reside in the cancer stem cell (CSC) component of breast and other tumors and is considered to be an inherent property of CSC. In this study, we assessed the radiation resistance of breast CSCs using early passaged, patient-derived xenografts from two separate patients. We found a patient-derived tumor in which the CSC population was rapidly depleted 2 weeks after treatment with radiation, based on CD44+ CD24- lin- phenotype and aldehyde dehydrogenase 1 immunofluorescence, suggesting sensitivity to radiotherapy. The reduction in CSCs according to phenotypic markers was accompanied by a decrease in functional CSC activity measured by tumor sphere frequency and the ability to form tumors in mice. In contrast, another patient tumor sample displayed enrichment of CSC after irradiation, signifying radioresistance, in agreement with others. CSC response to radiation did not correlate with the level of reactive oxygen species in CSC versus non-CSC. These findings demonstrate that not all breast tumor CSCs are radioresistant and suggest a mechanism for the observed variability in breast cancer local recurrence.
Embelin is an active ingredient of traditional herbal medicine that exhibits anti-tumor effects in human prostate cancer cells. However, therapeutic effect of embelin in combination with conventional radiation therapy is not yet determined. In this study, we evaluate the sensitizing potential of embelin on ionizing radiation (IR) in a human prostate cancer model. In vitro, embelin combined with radiation potently suppressed prostate cancer PC-3 cell proliferation that was associated with S and G2/M arrest in cell cycle. Moreover, the combination treatment promoted caspase-independent apoptosis, as evidenced by the increased apoptotic cell death without caspase-3 activation, but not autophagy. Clonogenic survival assay showed that S-phase arrest was required for embelin-mediated radiosensitization. In vivo, embelin significantly improved tumor response to X-ray radiation in the PC-3 xenograft model. Combination therapy produced enhanced tumor growth delay and prolonged time to progression, with minimal systemic toxicity. Immunohistochemistry studies showed that embelin plus IR significantly inhibited cell proliferation, induced apoptosis, and decreased microvessel density in tumors as compared with either treatment alone, suggesting an enhanced combinatory inhibition on tumor suppression and angiogenesis. Our results demonstrate that embelin significantly facilitates tumor suppression by radiation therapy both in vitro and in vivo in the prostate cancer model. This finding warrants embelin as a novel adjuvant therapeutic candidate for the treatment of hormone-refractory prostate cancer that is resistant to radiation therapy.
IAP inhibitor; Embelin; prostate cancer; ionizing radiation therapy