Gefitinib (ZD1839) increases the efficacy of cisplatin in ovarian cancer cells

Tsuyoshi Ohta, Masahide Ohmichi, Tae Shibuya, Toshifumi Takahashi, Seiji Tsutsumi, Kazuhiro Takahashi, Hirohisa Kurachi
Cancer Biology & Therapy 2012, 13 (6): 408-16
We examined the effect of gefitinib (ZD1839), a selective epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR)-tyrosine kinase inhibitor, on cytotoxicity to cisplatin, EGFR downstream signaling, apoptosis and the association between the inhibition of DNA repair by gefitinib and the expression of DNA-dependent protein kinase (DNA-PK) using three ovarian cancer cell lines. In the presence of gefitinib, cisplatin-induced growth inhibition and apoptosis were significantly enhanced in Caov-3 and RMG-1 cells, which express EGFR, and in A2780, which lacks EGFR but expresses HER-2. Gefitinib significantly inhibited the cisplatin-induced ERK and Akt activation in Caov-3 and RMG-1 cells but not in A2780 cells. In all three cell lines, there was delayed repair of DNA intrastrand cross-links damaged by cisplatin used in combination with gefitinib, compared with cisplatin alone. The reduction in DNA-PK levels persisted when cells were exposed to combinations of cisplatin and gefitinib in all cell lines. Moreover, the delayed repair was cancelled by anti-HER2 small-interfering RNA transfection in A2780 cells. These results suggest that combination therapy with cisplatin and gefitinib may increase the therapeutic efficacy of cisplatin by blocking EGFR downstream signaling and/or inhibiting DNA repair in ovarian cancer.

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