Combination chemotherapy studies with gemcitabine and etoposide in non-small cell lung and ovarian cancer cell lines

Catharina J A Van Moorsel, Herbert M. Pinedo, Gijsbert Veerman, Assen Guechev, Kees Smid, Willem J P Loves, Jan B. Vermorken, Pieter E. Postmus, Godefridus J. Peters

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Gemcitabine (2',2'-difluorodeoxycytidine, dFdC) and etoposide (4'-demethylepipodo-phyllotoxin-9-4,6-O-ethylidene-β-d-glucopyranoside, VP-16) are antineoplastic agents with clinical activity against various types of solid tumors. Because of the low toxicity profile of dFdC and the differences in mechanisms of cytotoxicity, combinations of both drugs were studied in vitro. For this purpose, we used the human ovarian cancer cell line A2780, its cis-diammine-dichloroplatinum-resistant and VP-16 cross-resistant variant ADDP, and two non-small cell lung cancer cell lines, Lewis Lung (LL, murine) and H322 (human). The interaction between the drugs was determined with the multiple drug effect analysis (fixed molar ratio) and with a variable drug ratio. In the LL cell line, the combination of dFdC and VP-16 at a constant molar ratio (dFdC:VP-16 = 1:4 or 1:0.125 after 4- or 24-hr exposure, respectively) was synergistic (combination index [CI], calculated at 50% growth inhibition = 0.7 and 0.8, respectively; CI <1 indicating synergism). After 24- and 72-hr exposure to both drugs at a constant ratio, additivity was found in the A2780, ADDP, and H322 cell lines (dFdC:VP-16 = 1:500 for both exposure times in these cell lines). When cells were exposed to a combination of dFdC and VP-16 for 24 or 72 hr, with VP-16 at its ic25 and dFdC in a concentration range, additivity was found in both the LL and H322 cells; synergism was observed in the A2780 and ADDP cells, which are the least sensitive to VP-16. Schedule dependency was found in the LL cell line; when cells were exposed to dFdC 4 hr prior to VP-16 (constant molar ratio, total exposure 24 hr), synergism was found (CI = 0.5), whereas additivity was found when cells were exposed to VP-16 prior to dFdC (CI = 1.6). The mechanism of interaction between the drugs was studied in more detail in the LL cell line; dFdCTP accumulation was 1.2-fold enhanced by co-incubation with VP-16, and was even more pronounced (1.4-fold) when cells were exposed to VP-16 prior to dFdC. dCTP levels were decreased by VP-16 alone as well as by the combination of both compounds, which may favor phosphorylation of dFdC, thereby increasing dFdCTP accumulation. DNA strand break (DSB) formation was increased for exposure to both compounds together compared to exposure to each compound separately, this effect being most pronounced when cells were exposed to VP-16 prior to dFdC (38% and 0% DSB for dFdC and VP-16 alone, respectively and 97% DSB for the combination). The potentiation in DSB formation might be a result of the inhibition of DNA repair by dFdC. Provided the right schedule is used, VP-16 is certainly a compound eligible for combination with dFdC. Copyright (C) 1999 Elsevier Science Inc.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)407-415
Number of pages9
JournalBiochemical Pharmacology
Volume57
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 15 1999
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • DNA damage
  • DNA strand breaks
  • Etoposide
  • Gemcitabine
  • Schedule dependency
  • Synergism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology

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