To determine whether the tubulin-binding drug noscapine could enhance radiosensitivity of GL261 glioma tumors by inhibiting tumor angiogenesis.
Methods and Materials
The human T98G and murine GL261 glioma cell lines treated with noscapine, radiation, or both were assayed for clonogenic survival. Mice with established GL261 hind limb tumors were treated with noscapine, radiation or both to evaluate the effect of noscapine on radioresponse. In a separate experiment with the same treatment groups, 7 days after radiation tumors were resected and immunostained to measure proliferation rate, apoptosis and angiogenic activity.
Noscapine reduced clonogenic survival without enhancement of radiosensitivity in vitro. Noscapine combined with radiation significantly increased tumor growth delay: 5, 8, 13, 18 days for control, noscapine alone, radiation alone, and the combination treatment, respectively (p < 0.001). To assess the effect of the combination of noscapine plus radiation on the tumor vasculature, tubule formation by the murine endothelial 2H11 cells was tested. Noscapine with radiation significantly inhibited tubule formation compared with radiation alone. By immunohistochemistry, tumors treated with the combination of noscapine plus radiation showed a decrease in BrdU incorporation, an increase in apoptosis by TUNEL and a decrease in tumor vessel density compared with tumors treated with radiation alone.
Noscapine enhanced the sensitivity of GL261 glioma tumors to radiation resulting in a significant tumor growth delay. These findings are clinically relevant, particularly in view of the mild toxicity profile of this drug.