JOURNAL ARTICLE

In vitro sequence-dependent synergism between paclitaxel and gefitinib in human lung cancer cell lines

Hua Cheng, She-Juan An, Xu-Chao Zhang, Song Dong, Yi-Fang Zhang, Zhi-Hong Chen, Hua-Jun Chen, Ai-Lin Guo, Qiu-Xiong Lin, Yi-Long Wu
Cancer Chemotherapy and Pharmacology 2011, 67 (3): 637-46
20495920

PURPOSE: In clinical trials, the epidermal growth factor receptor tyrosine kinase inhibitor (EGFR-TKI) administered concomitantly with first-line cytotoxicity chemotherapy failed to confer a survival benefit to patients with non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC). The aim of this study was to test whether paclitaxel followed by gefitinib is superior to other treatment schedules of NSCLC cell lines and to clarify the underlying mechanisms.

METHODS: Human lung cancer cell lines with wild-type and mutant-type EGFR genes were used as in vitro models to define the differential effects of various schedules of paclitaxel with gefitinib treatment on cell growth, signaling pathway, and cell cycle distribution.

RESULTS: Sequence-dependent antiproliferative effects differed between EGFR-TKI-resistant and EGFR-TKI-sensitive lung cancer cell lines. Exposure to paclitaxel resulted in an increased pEGFR level. This increase in phosphorylation was inhibited by subsequent exposure to gefitinib, whereas during the reverse sequence, the inhibition effect was reduced. After paclitaxel exposure, a higher level of pEGFR was observed in mitotic than in interphase cells. The sequence of paclitaxel followed by gefitinib resulted in greater anti-VEGF activity than did the reverse sequence. We confirmed that gefitinib arrested cells in G1, and paclitaxel arrested them in S phase. The sequence of paclitaxel followed by gefitinib arrested cells in G1, whereas the reverse sequence arrested cells in S and G2 phases.

CONCLUSIONS: These findings suggest that the sequence of paclitaxel followed by gefitinib may be superior to other sequences in treating NSCLC cell lines. Our results also provide molecular evidence to support clinical treatment strategies for patients with lung cancer.

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