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J Radiat Res. 2005 Jun;46(2):241-8.

Pretreatment with rituximab enhances radiosensitivity of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma cells.

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  • 1Department of Radiotherapy-Radiooncology, Innsbruck Medical University, Austria. Ira.Skvortsova@uibk.ac.at


The present study examines the effects of ionizing radiation in combination with rituximab (RTX), a chimeric human anti-CD20 monoclonal antibody, on proliferation, cell cycle distribution and apoptosis in B-lymphoma RL and Raji cells. Exposure to ionizing radiation (9 Gy) induced cell growth delay and apoptosis in RL cells, whereas Raji cells showed moderate radio-resistance. The simultaneous exposure of lymphoma cells to ionizing radiation and RTX (10 microg/mL) markedly enhanced apoptosis and cell growth delay in RL and Raji cells. Cooperative antiproliferative and apoptotic effects of RTX and radiation were achieved through the inhibition of c-myc and bcl-XL expression. Furthermore, RTX-modulated expression of cell cycle regulating proteins, such as p53, p21/WAF1, p27/KIP1, contributed to the development of radiation-induced cell killing and growth arrest. Each NHL cell line that underwent apoptosis induced by combination treatment revealed enhanced caspase-3 and poly (ADP-ribose) polymerase (PARP) cleavage as compared to only irradiated cells. These findings show that rituximab synergistically enhances radiation-induced apoptosis and cell growth delay through the expression of proteins involved in the programmed cell death and cell cycle regulation pathways.

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