Radiosensitization of Pancreatic Cancer Cells In Vitro and In Vivo through Poly (ADP-ribose) Polymerase Inhibition with ABT-888

Richard Tuli, Andrew J. Surmak, Juvenal Reyes, Michael Armour, Amy Hacker-Prietz, John Wong, Theodore L. DeWeese, Joseph M. Herman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


OBJECTIVES: To determine whether poly (ADP-ribose) polymerase-1/2 (PARP-1/2) inhibition enhances radiation-induced cytotoxicity of pancreatic adenocarcinoma in vitro and in vivo, and the mechanism by which this occurs. Methods: Pancreatic carcinoma cells were treated with ABT-888, radiation, or both. In vitro cell viability, apoptosis, and PARP activity were measured. Orthotopic xenografts were generated in athymic mice and treated with ABT-888 (25 mg/kg), radiation (5 Gy), both, or no treatment. Mice were monitored with bioluminescence imaging. RESULTS: In vitro, treatment with ABT-888 and radiation led to higher rates of cell death after 8 days (P < .01). Co-treatment with 5 Gy and 1, 10 or 100 μmol/l of ABT-888 led to dose enhancement factors of 1.29, 1.41 and 2.36, respectively. Caspase activity was not significantly increased when treated with ABT-888 (10 μmol/l) alone (1.28-fold, P = .08), but became significant when radiation was added (2.03-fold, P < .01). PARP activity increased post-radiation and was abrogated following co-treatment with ABT-888. In vivo, treatment with ABT-888, radiation or both led to tumor growth inhibition (TGI) of 8, 30 and 39 days, and survival at 60 days of 0%, 0% and 40%, respectively. CONCLUSIONS: ABT-888 with radiation significantly enhanced tumor response in vitro and in vivo. ABT-888 inhibited PAR protein polymerization resulting in dose-dependent feedback up-regulation of PARP and p-ATM suggesting increased DNA damage. This translated into enhancement in TGI and survival with radiation in vivo. In vitro PAR levels correlated with levels of tumor apoptosis suggesting potential as a predictive biomarker. These data are being used to support a Phase I study in locally advanced pancreatic cancer.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)439-445
Number of pages7
JournalTranslational Oncology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 2014
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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