Chemotherapeutic and antiangiogenic drugs beyond tumor progression in colon cancer: Evaluation of the effects of switched schedules and related pharmacodynamics

Teresa Di Desidero, Paola Orlandi, Anna Fioravanti, Greta Alì, Chiara Cremolini, Fotios Loupakis, Daniela Gentile, Marta Banchi, Federico Cucchiara, Carlotta Antoniotti, Gianluca Masi, Gabriella Fontanini, Alfredo Falcone, Guido Bocci
Biochemical Pharmacology 2019, 164: 94-105
The aim of the study was to evaluate the effects and the related pharmacological mechanisms of switched schedules of antiangiogenic and chemotherapeutic drugs beyond progression after a first-line treatment in a colorectal cancer preclinical model. In vivo studies were performed in nude mice subcutaneously transplanted with colon cancer cells. The treatments included drug combinations with a switch between chemotherapeutic (i.e., irinotecan and 5-fluorouracil) and/or antiangiogenic drugs (i.e., anti-VEGF antibodies and sunitinib) at the time of tumor progression. Proliferation assays were also achieved in vitro on different colon cancer cell lines exposed to SN-38 and sunitinib alone or in combination. ABCG2 gene expression was performed with real-time PCR and SN-38 intracellular concentrations were measured. The switch in the combined treatments, at the time of tumor progression, of the chemotherapeutic (from irinotecan to 5-fluoruracil), or the antiangiogenic drug (from anti-VEGF antibodies to sunitinib) or of both drugs induced a new response. Immunohistochemistry of stromal PDGF-C, PlGF, SD1-α, Tie-2, and VEGFR-2 showed statistical differences between tumors at the time of relapse and after the switched therapy. Moreover, the combination of SN-38 and sunitinib caused synergism on colon cancer cells, with significant inhibition of the ABCG2 gene expression and an increase of SN-38 intracellular concentrations. Our observations may be of clinical relevance, suggesting the switch of single chemotherapeutic or antiangiogenic drugs beyond progression of the disease to obtain a new tumor response due to a modulation of angiogenic factors and a direct effect on tumor cells with a possible variation of intracellular drug concentrations.

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