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Cancer Res. 2010 Jun 15;70(12):4972-81. doi: 10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-09-3573. Epub 2010 May 25.

Mechanism of radiosensitization by the Chk1/2 inhibitor AZD7762 involves abrogation of the G2 checkpoint and inhibition of homologous recombinational DNA repair.

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  • 1Department of Radiation Oncology, University of Michigan Medical School, Ann Arbor, Michigan 48109-5637, USA.


The median survival for patients with locally advanced pancreatic cancer treated with gemcitabine and radiation is approximately 1 year. To develop improved treatment, we have combined a Chk1/2-targeted agent, AZD7762, currently in phase I clinical trials, with gemcitabine and ionizing radiation in preclinical pancreatic tumor models. We found that in vitro AZD7762 alone or in combination with gemcitabine significantly sensitized MiaPaCa-2 cells to radiation. AZD7762 inhibited Chk1 autophosphorylation (S296 Chk1), stabilized Cdc25A, and increased ATR/ATM-mediated Chk1 phosphorylation (S345 Chk1). Radiosensitization by AZD7762 was associated with abrogation of the G(2) checkpoint as well as with inhibition of Rad51 focus formation, inhibition of homologous recombination repair, and persistent gamma-H2AX expression. AZD7762 was also a radiation sensitizer in multiple tumor xenograft models. In both MiaPaCa-2- and patient-derived xenografts, AZD7762 significantly prolonged the median time required for tumor volume doubling in response to gemcitabine and radiation. Together, our findings suggest that G(2) checkpoint abrogation and homologous recombination repair inhibition both contribute to sensitization by Chk1 inhibition. Furthermore, they support the clinical use of AZD7762 in combination with gemcitabine and radiation for patients with locally advanced pancreatic cancer.

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